PLAN C – A New Sound in Latin Music 

So what’s a new wave in global, Latin domination look and sound like? Well, on Halloween, they’d be dressed as zombies fronted by a little female devil. The host would be the red and lovely acoustic ambience of Lula Lounge, Toronto.  

Their flyers boast a ‘new wave of global Latin sound’ mixing electronica and Afro-Latin rhythms. Truly, the club-hopper or the music lover cannot be afraid of international rhythms or think that one shouldn’t cross the other when attending a Plan C show. Nor should they be surprised when the dancers stop to watch and listen and the music patrons get up and dance. This band is an orchestra of big sounds and big ambitions with the subtle details required in the plying of Latin, African and block, rockin’ beats. The mastermind behind the mix of styles is the producer/composer/singer/band leader, Juan Carlos Valencia, tapping into the variety of musical tastes from himself and his band-mates. 

“When we get together all our influences start to surface and meld together,” says guitarist, Alberto Campuzano. 

The Halloween fest started with an instrumental, electro-latino-alternativo version of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Juan followed this with a boisterous welcome, launching the room into their second song. The dancers took to the floor and the music-lovers sat back. Newcomers to the Plan C show might not have noticed the tiny, young lady climbing onto the stage, discretely making her way towards her place, centre-stage -- until she added her voice to the music. Janelle Dewhurst’s vocal range and beauty is a powerhouse, elegant and sensuous yet strong enough to hold itself against her vocal counterpart, Juan, and the rest of the eight-man band. The Cumbia song was my favourite. My first thought was that Juan looked too young to sing that song so well, just as, my first thought was that Janelle looked too small to carry the Techno number that had the room jumpin’.

It’s not enough to say that this emerging band is uniquely Canadian or Latin or from Toronto’s prominent music program at Humber College. This band has taken the time to selectively cut and serve the samples of sounds from across the world and more importantly, their own influences. Something to freshen our over- saturated, urban palates. Let's take the time to savour the details. 

Aside from regular performances at Lula’s, Plan C has played at the Harbourfront Centre, Bambu by the Lake, Guelph University and Humber College. They will be playing at the next Montreal Jazz festival.  

Plan C’s next upcoming show will be at Lula’s on November 28th, 2003.  

October 2003

© lyw