(Posted on behalf of Sarah) I once observed that no month needs a party like long dreary November. This is not yet November, but I tend to find the same principle can apply in October. The air gets colder, the nights start sooner and run longer, the days get a little greyer, and people start talking about vitamin D supplements and warm places. And because 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, it’s time to find something to celebrate.
Enter Latin American Heritage Month which runs throughout October under various names across the country. This is an opportunity to celebrate Latin American culture and learn more about the way Canada’s Latin American community shapes the fabric of our nation.
Broadly speaking (perhaps too broadly), Latin America is considered to be made up of countries in North, Central, and South America where Spanish and Portuguese prevail as colonial languages; and the largest Latin American Canadian communities are Mexican Canadians, Colombian Canadians, and Salvadoran Canadians.
Any celebration starts with music, and there are many Latin American Canadian musicians to check out this month. Juno award winning Chilean-Canadian guitarist Oscar Lopez has been making music since the 1970’s. He started out doing rock covers before finding his niche in Latin-style acoustic and flamenco music, and winning awards for his beautiful instrumental work. He also teamed up with folk singer James Keelaghan to explore the place where Latin and Celtic music meet. Lopez’s Best of album Flashback is a lovely introduction to his work.
And in another part of the scene, you will find Toronto born country and roots artist Lindi Ortega. whose music is influenced by her Mexican and Irish heritage as well as her experiences across Canada, and her time spent in Nashville. Her voice has been likened to Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. Her latest album, Liberty, is available on Hoopla.