Rio Samaya brings world music to Pioneer Park

Rio Samaya consists of Pancho and Sal, partners in life and music, who join forces to perform a blend of original songs and world favourites

Rio Samaya will be performing in Pioneer Park on Wednesday

Rio Samaya will be performing as part of the Twilight Concert Series, hosted by the District of Kent, the Agassiz Harrison Lions Club, and the Harrison Agassiz Chamber of Commerce.

The group consists of Pancho and Sal, partners both in life and in music, who join forces to perform a blend of original songs and covers of folk, rumba, and world favourites. With Pancho leading on the guitar, ukulele, or harmonica, and Sal playing accordion, shakers, or taking on the high vocal harmonies, the group has something for everybody, no matter where you’re from.

“A lot of people have described our music as authentic, distinctive, refreshing, and uplifting,” Sal explained. “It’s unmistakeably South American, rich in history, and has positive vibrations.”

While the group’s music generally has strong South American roots, they’ve included several English songs into their program, as well as a few reggae songs, inspired by a recent trip to Jamaica.

“Before, we did everything in the Spanish language,” Pancho explained. “Now we have more English songs, some popular, some traditional, and we included a few more reggae because we’ve been influenced by Jamaica.”

But other than more variety in their set list, the group’s sound has stayed rather consistent over the years.

“There’s no big difference, we’ve just upgraded a little bit to include new instruments like ukulele, and electric guitars,” Pancho explained.

The concert won’t be the first that Rio Samaya has played with the Twilight Concert Series, and certainly not in the area.

“We love the communities of Agassiz and Harrison,” Sal said. “We’ve been there way back in the day when we started performing in Harrison at some of the restaurants there. We just love the feel of the community.

The relaxed nature of the Twilight Concert Series is highly conducive to the energy that Rio Samaya aims to bring to their concerts.

“The audience is very relaxed,” Pancho said. “Sometimes we have the audience dancing a little bit. It’s nice; it’s like a folk event.”

Rio Samaya is known for inviting audience members that are musicians to join them on stage and perform with them, and Sal noted that it could happen again at their upcoming performance.

“We like to share a part of ourselves and we always try to keep it positive and happy, and try to make it a collective experience,” she said. “That’s the part we love about going around the world. In Jamaica we played with Jamaicans and in Agassiz, who knows.”

Rio Samaya will be performing in Pioneer Park on Wednesday, August 3. The concert goes from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., and will be cancelled in the event of rain.