A BAND from Gwynedd have taken Latin American Samba music and infused their own blend of folk, jazz and rock ‘n' roll, to create a uniquely Welsh combination.

The group, Banda Bacana, will be among the star attractions at Bangor Music Festival where organisers say they guarantee a "bums off seats" experience as their music is so infectious concert-goers find it almost impossible to keep still.

Formed more than 20 years ago, they have built up a strong reputation amongst fans of world music and will take to the stage in the opening concert of the festival at the Pontio's Arts Centre's Theatr Bryn Terfel on February 15.

The concert also features the acclaimed, Cardiff-based Afro Cluster for an evening of music from two continents.


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Vocalist Ceri Dalton said Banda Bacana's music comes from a range of influences and cultures with an emphasis on having fun.

Ceri, who also plays the congas, the tall, narrow, single-headed drum from Cuba, said: "We play a mix of funk, afrobeat, Latin, reggae and ska and we've written most of our own songs.

“It's the sort of music we like to play and it seems our audiences like it as well. We encourage people to get up and dance and they don't need to be asked twice. We've even seen people in wheelchairs try to get up and dance."

Memorial Hal, Betws y Coed Banda Bacana will be appearing at the Bangor Music Festival in mid-Feb showcasing their Latin-based music vibe.

Memorial Hal, Betws y Coed Banda Bacana will be appearing at the Bangor Music Festival in mid-Feb showcasing their Latin-based music vibe.

Drummer Owen Hughes joined the band about 15 years ago - initially just for one gig!

He said: " Banda Bacana are pretty unique because the band members have all brought their styles and influences to it. I've played in folk bands like Cajuns Denbo, Bwchadanas and rhythm and blues with The Jukes and Steve Eaves' band.

Trumpet player Neil Browning is also folk orientated but saxophonist Jochen Eistntraut is more into jazz."

Owen, who ran Cob Records, the well-known record shop in Bangor for many years, believes Banda Bacana have developed their own unique style and added a Welsh flavour to their music.

"There is nothing Welsh about Samba music but we have developed our own style. Our first album was about half and half original songs and covers but our second was all our own compositions and we have continued to write our own material since that album was released.

"Our set contains three songs we have written and arranged ourselves in Welsh so that is pretty original but we are primarily a dance band," he said.

While focusing mainly on contemporary music, Bangor Music Festival has been a cultural highlight on Wales’s cultural calendar for more than 20 years and will be staged within Pontio at Bangor University from February 15 to Sunday, February 18, 2024.

Tickets are available from the Pontio website.