Growing up surrounded by music in Ecuador, Soniko Waira knew from an early age that he wanted to be a musician.
“My parents told me to find a different career,” Waira recalls. “My mom wanted me to be an accountant.”
But there was no stopping him. Waira picked up a guitar for the first time at age 13 and was performing for audiences a year later.
In his youth he was in a hip hop band. Then he and his friends played Metallica-inspired rock music.
Eventually he gave up on trying to organize bandmates and started his own solo project. He released two CDs of electronic music that received some radio play in Ecuador.
Then he met a woman from the Kootenays and everything changed. He moved to Nelson in 2005 and, not long after, his son was born.
For years, Waira’s music took the back burner to raising a child, improving his English and finding his way in a country and culture vastly difference from what he was used to.
But this year he was determined to get back into his musical groove. He recorded a new CD — his first since coming to Canada — and is having a launch party for it this Tuesday at The Royal.
“Half the songs are tradition folk songs from the Andes where I grew up, and half are my originals,” Waira said.
He describes his new sound as “Ancestral psychedelic folk.” He recorded the CD solo playing all the instruments — guitar, hand drums, shakers and flute —and singing mostly in Spanish. The CD is all acoustic with minimal production.
“I wanted to record the songs the same way they sound live,” Waira said.
For the CD launch, Waira will be joined on stage by two friends, one playing guitar and the other on drums.
Opening the show is Nelson singer-songwriter Morien Jones.
Check it out Tuesday, November 27, 8 p.m. at the Royal in Nelson. Cover is free. CDs will be sold for $11.11 (a number that some believe signals a spirit presence).