The series about where to find the best places for live music in Vancouver continues this week with another one of the great music genres. Last time, we published an article about the most interesting places to go if you’re interested in rock music. This article is going to offer you some of the local bars, restaurants and other venues, where you can find quality Latin music.
Since the last article of the series offered a bit of a tougher music genre, we hope that this week’s choice will satisfy especially those who like a more romantic yet energetic kind of music, which Latin surely is. Let’s see where it comes from, how it’s played, and where to find it.
Origins of the Latin Music
Latin music has been developed over the ages in various parts of Latin America, mainly in Cuba and the Caribbean. It consists of four main sounds, known as salsa, raeggaeton, nueva cancion, and Tejano music — all linked by practically the single feature of Latin music, which is the Spanish language. For more information about these sounds, take a look at this article.
Instruments and Other Characteristics
Traditional Latin music instruments consist of percussion and string instruments: namely, the congas, timbales, bongo, tres, and guitar. Later, in to perfect melodies and riffs, trumpets, trombones, and bass were added to the repertoire. Latin music has three basic characteristics that you can easily notice in any Latin song:
- Clave: the basic rhythm played with two sticks
- Call-And-Response Inspiraciones: a musical exchange between two voices, improvised by the lead vocalist or an instrumentalist.
- Bajo-Tumbao-bass: repeated rhythm for the bass or conga
Here are some of the best places in Vancouver where you can find this music played LIVE:
Federico’s Supper Club (map)
Phone: (604) 251-3473
Federico’s was recently awarded the prestigious Quality Seal Certification from the Istituto Nazionale Ricerche Turistiche (the National Institute of Tourist Research) as one of the restaurants exemplifying traditional Italian cuisine and hospitality, and Federico’s truly deserves such honour. The cuisine is quite extraordinary, with weekdays à la carte and weekend prix-fixe menus. They play live music from Wednesday to Sunday, so if you’re a fan of great atmosphere while dining, this is the place to go. The music selection here features jazz, Italian, crooner, dance favourites, and most importantly, Latin.
The live music is provided by Emidio Serrambada & Friends, every Thursday from 8:00 P.M. to 12:00 P.M., featuring cha-cha, merengue, and salsa. If you want a to enjoy a night out at Federico’s, you should probably make a reservation since the club is usually quite full.
Baru Latino (map)
Phone: (604) 222-9171
This bar in the Point Grey neighbourhood offers both a culinary and auditory experience. The menu would be a very different one from any menus you’ve ever encountered in your life. It’s a miracle if you find anything that even remotely sounds familiar. The restaurant frequently hosts live musicians, playing amazing South-American rhythms, making a very curious culinary experience even more exciting.
The staff is very friendly and extremely helpful, always willing to explain what is in the dish, calming some of the alarmed customers down. Baru is a very cozy place with a lot of things to try out and hours of original Latin music to listen to. The only problem with this restaurant is that they are usually quite overbooked, especially on weekends, since a lot of local people go here both for lunch and dinner.
El Barrio Restaurante Latino (map)
Phone: (604) 569-2220
El Barrio is a very warm and inviting type of place. It has a bit more of a pub than a restaurant feel, making it somehow special among other places offering similar types of food. Their menu is very well balanced and not too expensive, and the staff is very outgoing and ready to help all the time.
Their live shows are quite amusing, and especially live music nights in El Barrio are a huge crowd-pleaser. The owners of the restaurant have a great taste, and they often pick natives to play wonderful Latin songs all night long, giving you the opportunity to hear a great deal of traditional Latin American songs, and they still somehow manage to keep the variety going.
Where are your favourite places to go when you want to have a Latin evening?