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Son Latino is not only an established Latin band in Halifax, it’s also a group of friends whose style is influenced by multiple cross-cultural identities. As their Instagram page says, “A few Cubans, a Chinese Colombian, and a couple of Canucks. All of us in Halifax = Son Latino!”

Son Latino puts a creative spin on Latin American music by featuring dynamic artists from different nations.  Rhythms from Colombia, Cuba and Mexico come together to form a live ensemble for bars, restaurants and other events.  They play rhythms such as Merengue, Reggaeton, Salsa, Cha-cha and more, varying between traditional and contemporary Latin musical styles.

Yonnelis Legranoa, a lead singer for Son Latino, said the band has always been growing and creatively developing. “We have been together for eight years and we play in different venues,” she said.

They began as a Latin group of friends who enjoyed playing different types of music. “That is one thing that is great in our band, we are all friends,” she said, adding that the playful closeness among band members is something that always shows during their performances.

In their early beginnings, Son Latino played under different names.  Coming up with a band name was difficult as everyone was hoping to find a name that encapsulated the multicultural diversity within the group.  Son Latino was selected because it represented the togetherness in the work that the band does.  Different genres such as Cumbia, Bachata and Salsa come together to represent colourful Latin culture as a whole.

Son Latino members consistently think about balancing a broader understanding of Latin music as well as individuals’ perception of it. Often, band members will request a song they would like to play and during performances audience members will request songs. “Sometimes, we even have Venezuelan music in our mix” said Legranoa. Ultimately, the goal is to find different ways to bring Latin culture to Halifax.

Currently, Son Latino rehearses every week or every couple of weeks, especially if a show is coming up. Legranoa often focuses on arranging the band’s bookings. However, scheduling isn’t always easy. “People can have different priorities to attend to,” she said.

Their most active period tends to be summer festivals, a popular time for salsa and dance. “We have become well known in the salsa community,” said Legranoa, adding they perform a show for all those interested in listening or dancing to Latin music.

She said the passion in the band stems from playing songs that band members have grown up with, “Which is why we really work hard and prepare to offer a great show.”

For Legranoa, singing reminds her of her native Cuba: “Since I was a little girl, I loved singing in my neighbourhood” and performing often brings memories of singing at schools and festivals in her sunny hometown. 

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