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The best kept secret in music



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.  
- Lyw

"Conociendo un poco más de: PLAN C"

Música Alter-Latina, fusionando lo tradicional con lo moderno

Cuando yo pienso en la música latina alternativa siempre pienso en música que es consciente de la tradición original de nuestra música. Pienso en música que aprende del pasado y desde ahí empieza a moverse a los ritmos modernos. La música alter-latina es una combinación de mucho más que tambores tradicionales con guitarras roqueras. La música alter-latina es el conocimiento del deseo y pasión que trajo la música latina a Norte América. Estamos hablando de música que sabe mezclar las ondas de Cumbia y Salsa con las ondas de rock y las ondas electrónicas de hoy día. Estamos hablando de música que es consciente de la lucha y gozo de nuestros países maternales. Cuando pienso en la música alter-latina, pienso en Plan C.
El viernes 28 de noviembre 2003 en Lula lounge se presentó por la última vez este año el grupo fabuloso de Juan Carlos Valencia y su familia musical Plan C. Cuando uno escucha (o sale a bailar) la música de Plan C, uno reconoce los ritmos de salsa y cumbia, pero también uno aprecia el uso de la guitarra de rock, o de el DJ que trae una onda de la música electrónica house. Pero no para ahí, sino uno puede apreciar cuando le agregan un sentido fuerte de la música de funk y soul. Dando el espectáculo una combinación de sonidos complicados, pero integrados en una manera que no es desordenada, sino mezclado perfectamente para nuestra diversión. Cuando está escribiendo la música de Plan C, Juan Carlos siempre está consciente de cada miembro de su familia musical.
"Cada persona aporta, cada persona aporta sus cosas," Cuenta Juan. "y de ahí uno conoce la persona, y de ahí uno empieza a escribir para esa persona."
"Juan es el jefe," cuenta el pianista Chris Moulder. " él entiende la capacidad de toda la gente en la banda, y sabe el sonido que quiere encontrar, que está buscando, y de ahí va escribiendo." En una calle desconocida en la mente de Juan Carlos se encontraron el rock y la cumbia. La salsa y el electrónico. Se enamoraron, y de ahí nació la música de Plan C. Un grupo más ecléctico no vas a encontrar. Una canción puede ser cumbia-reggae, la próxima puede ser salsa jazz-funk. Hasta las canciones mismas empiezan en un ritmo y terminan en otro. La música de Plan C no tiene miedo de ser todo lo que tiene que ser para ser considerado un grupo alter-latino. Algunos grupos encuentran una combinación de ritmos y paran ahí, pero Plan C siempre sigue mirando hasta el futuro cambiando y creciendo juntos como una familia musical.
Ya van peleando juntos por un gran tiempo, buscando el respeto que se merecen siendo un grupo de músicos alter-latinos en la ciudad de Toronto.
"La música alternativa lleva menos de diez años. Se tiene que empezar por algún lado," dice Juan. "Lo bueno es que esta música es internacional. No solo es para una comunidad. Y eso es lo que estoy tratando de hacer con Plan C. Llegar no solo a latinos sino a todo el mundo." Plan C está planeando regresar al estudio los próximos tres meses para grabar su nuevo disco, por eso el espectáculo del viernes pasado fue tan especial. Empujando con su propio sello, Juan Carlos planea sacar el disco en el nuevo año.
Como muchos de los grupos luchando hoy día para el respeto de la comunidad latina, Plan C piensa que le falta mucho para que pegue esta nueva onda. "A mi me parece que la gente no sabe que existe esto, lo que es latino alternativa" dice Chris Moulder. "No saben de donde vinimos, del estilo de nuestra onda. "Y tiempo también." dice Juan Carlos. "La filosofía es seguir trabajando poco a poco, y seguir tocando y seguir llegando a más gente."
Plan C no solo necesita nuestro apoyo, ellos se merecen nuestro respecto por ser un grupo sin miedo de experimentar y fusionar todos los ritmos latinos tradicionales con los ritmos modernos de la nueva generación. Plan C toca la música de la juventud y abraza la música de la generación de nuestros padres. La música alter-latin es la nueva onda del día, pero no es una onda que va a morir pronto. Con grupos como Plan C basando la música de la nueva generación en la música tradicional latina, la nueva onda solo puede seguir creciendo de semillas llenas de tanta vida, alegría y gozo. - Sergio Elmir

"AlternaLatin movement"


Fusion is generally not my favourite word when it comes to music. For every Miles Davis or Amon Tobin who has a musical vision that leads to new and exciting forms, there are a thousand lazy thinkers who make pap and hide behind the term. That said, in a world so closely connected, musical hybrids happen every day, directly reflecting people's cultures and lives.

Movimiento!, a six-week series running to August 18 at Lula Lounge, is dedicated to "the next wave of the Nuevo Latino movement." The perspective is distinctly young, urban and mindful of both past and present.

"When I was growing up in Colombia, all I would hear in the streets was salsa, cumbia and other Latin music that represents our cultures," says musician Juan Valencia. "But at the same time, I grew up with Black Sabbath, Zeppelin, Nirvana and all the rock and electronic music that you guys listen to here.

Though Valencia, a classically trained guitarist, moved to Toronto to study jazz at Humber College, he also found himself exploring traditional Latin American rhythms and instruments in bands like Afro-Colombian funksters Palenke Orchestra. By the end of 2002, his appreciation for innovative, politicized fusionists had him aiming to form a band that would merge funk, rock, hip-hop, and electronics with traditional cumbia, vallenato, and son rhythms. The result was Plan C, now an eight-piece band whose debut album, Tercer Mundo, and tight, energetic stage shows have won them a legion of fans. In Montreal, crowds at a recent, outdoor Jazz Festival show swelled to many screaming thousands.

Plan C recently began work on a second album that Valencia says will feature "a more evolved fusion," and an even stronger presence of South American rhythms and instruments. He's as hyped to discuss Colombian flutes as he is reggaeton, rock or any number of modern sounds.

"Fifteen years ago," he muses, "there was the popular folk sound or the other extreme, which was the American sound. Now, the new generations of Latinos are identifying themselves with a type of music that shows us our musical histories are very valuable, and that we should embrace other cultures only in our own, personal way. So an altogether new set of sounds is coming from these fusions, whether it's hip-hop with cumbias, rock with salsa or merengue and tango with electronic music." - Eye Magazine - July 21, 2005

"Xclaim Magazine"

The music of PLAN C is the music of migration. It is the music of lost lands and found homes. It is the music of a new generation of Latinos, reflecting upon the third world to first world audiences. The joy and energy of PLAN C is the underlying tone to the lessons they carry of peace and equality. These Lessons were born, many years ago, into the heart of a young musician whose first home was Colombia. - Sergio Elmir

"The unified groove"

"... through a funked-up dose of genre-bending beats, Volar soars into the future of global music. Plan C honours a genuine spirit of diversity by pushing forward the unified groove."

DJ Medicineman
CIUT - 89.5 FM
- DJ Medicineman - CIUT 89.5 FM


VOLAR - Coming in July 5th, 2007
TERCER MUNDO (ISSI Records) 2004
EP - PLAN-C ElectroLatinoAlternativo - 2003


Feeling a bit camera shy


In 2002, Plan C joined Toronto’s collective musical consciousness and quickly found themselves ascending to become one of the most recognized and appreciated musical cooperatives in the city. Like a breath of fresh spring air, Plan C broke Toronto’s musical winter with their own combination of globally inspired grooves and street smart bravado. Their 2004 debut release, ‘Tercer Mundo’, took them to the top of many World and Latin music charts at the most popular university radio stations in Toronto, Montreal, London, Hamilton and Guelph and soon they would be playing to fans in some of the hottest clubs across the province.

With a powerful buzz behind them, Plan C was taken out of the clubs and onto internationally recognized stages across the province for a series of electrifying performances at some of the most important music festivals in the country, including: a number of performances at the Distillery Jazz Festival, the Toronto Street Festival, several appearances at Harbourfront Centre’s Ritmo Y Color and Extravaganza Festival, London’s La Fiesta Del Sol Festival and the Montreal Jazz Festival.

Plan C capped-off these incredible years of performances with a series of exciting nominations for awards including: Best Song 2004/2005 and Best Group of the year by The Canadian Latin Industry Awards 2005 (, Best Latin Fusion Album of the year by the SHOCK Awards 2005 (Shock Magazine, Bogota, Colombia), Favorite Indie Latin Alternative Group at the 2005 Canadian Independent Music Awards (CMW), Latin American Achievement Awards - PREMIOS SOMOS 2004 and 2005 - Talent of the year and a win for Favorite Indie Latin Alternative Group at the 2004 Canadian Independent Music Awards.

Following such an incredible debut, Plan C decided to take a year to focus on their sound. Made up of a large collective of international musicians, many of Plan C’s disciples left Canada to individually seek out a new musical perspective by looking for the roots of their own cultures in their homeland. Eventually, Plan C regrouped with suitcases full of ideas and a fresh perspective on our global village. The group immediately crowded their recording space and began to share their travel stories.

Stories and life experiences became songs and the outcome of their journeys has been captured on the exciting new sophomore album ‘Volar’, a more mature musical journey through the Latin Diaspora that doesn’t shy away from a necessary conscious message. The rhythms reflect new paths blazed into Afro-Beat, Cumbia and Jazz as voices chant for Peace and Justice. With ‘Volar’, Plan C gives a vision of the world from the Latino perspective, an experience wrought with neo-colonialism, illegal wars, exploitation of the poor and weak, and yet Latin America remains full of life, full of hope and still standing after so many storms, definitely a powerful example of how culture can save us from ourselves. ‘Volar’ represents hope in the face of immense opposition; it represents how the music can take you to new heights when you’re feeling so low.

All of Plan C’s early achievements have put them on par with such groups as: Yerba Buena (USA), Manu Chao (FRANCE), Ozomatli (USA), Sargento Garcia (France), Ojos de Brujo (Spain), Macaco (Spain) and SideStepper (Colombia) - making them Canada’s answer to the World-Latin-Fusion movement. Plan C has helped shape Canada’s idea of what Latin music should sound like and has been a pioneer and leader in the Latino Community, encouraging others to look outside their own environment for inspiration so that they too may be able to take bigger musical risks.

They’ve already taken the first big steps and now Plan C is prepared to take their savoury mix of Latin Soul and World Funk onto the dance floor once again, this time bringing a little hope and a whole lot of passion to the people.


- The album "Tercer Mundo" nominated for Best Latin Fusion Album of the year by the SHOCK Awards 2005 (Shock Magazine) - Bogotá-Colombia.


-Nominated as TALENT OF THE YEAR 2004 and 2005 by the "Latin American Achievement Awards"