Locarno is the Latin project of JUNO Award-winning musician, Tom Landa. Like him, the music is equal parts Mexican and Canadian. Tom was born and raised in Mexico City and moved to Canada in his teens. In the mid-nineties, he formed the Folk Roots band, The Paperboys, who have been touring worldwide for over 20 years, including multiple performances at The Seasons Performance Hall since the second year of its existence (2006).
Tom has always dabbled in Latin music, and in 2005 decided to immerse himself more into the genre, and started working on material for an album. In 2006 he was awarded a Canada Council Grant to study traditional Mexican Music in Veracruz, Mexico. Tom spent his days learning the jarana (an 8-string guitar) and learning songs from the Son Jarocho repertoire. Upon his return to Canada, Tom started working on what would be Locarno’s debut CD.
In 2009 Tom decided it was high time to make the album he had been threatening to make. He joined forces with producer Joby Baker (Alex Cuba, Adonis Puentes, Cowboy Junkies) and trumpeter Miguelito Valdes (Omara Portoundo, Afro Cuban All Stars) who helped bring the album to life. In 2010 Locarno released ‘Una Mas Y Ya Nos Vamos’ The music was a mix of Son Jarocho-inspired folk tunes with Afro-Cuban rhythms. The album was nominated for a WCMA and garnered rave reviews.
Since then the band has honed in on their sound and incorporated more influences such as music from Columbia, African Sukous, Mexican Marimba Music, Venezuelan Joropo, and Brazilian Forro Music. Perhaps where the band shines the most is in the live shows which feature Tom Landa on jaranas and guitars, Kalissa Landa on violin, Robin Layne on marimba, congas, and timbales, Pedro Mota on guitar and vocals, Aaron McKinney on bass, Liam MacDonald on drums, congas and pandeiro, Mark D’Angelo on trumpet and Nick La Riviere on trombone.
Locarno launched their second CD, ‘Luz Y Sombra’ in November 2015. The new CD is a great mix of all the different Latin idioms the band plays and features 10 original songs and two traditional Mexican folk songs. The CD was nominated for a Western Canada Music Award in the spring of 2016. As the CBC’s Michael Juk says, “Don’t miss the chance to see this band. You’ll find yourself singing their praises too”