Latin salsa band Zandhunga serves up a spicey dance workshop and performance at the Gorge Hall on Cortes Island this Saturday.

Tropical heat beats the blues

This Saturday, a tropical breeze hits the coast as a workshop in Cuban-style salsa kicks off a fun, lively evening on Cortes

Summer’s heat has finally hit. Then, unpredictably and unfairly, it has gone away again, only to come back in bouts of sunshine to beat the blues of winter.

No one knows what exactly is going on with the climate, but one thing is certain – cruising over to Cortes Island and checking out the Gorge Hall is a sure-fire way to warm the body, mind and spirit.

This Saturday, a tropical breeze hits the coast as a workshop in Cuban-style salsa kicks off a fun, lively evening for islanders and tourists alike of all ages.

The Latin band, Zandhunga, will take to the stage with searing-hot salsa mixed with cha-cha-cha’s, merengues and more. Currently based in the Comox Valley, Zandhunga operates under the direction of Mexican-born, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, Oscar Robles Diaz.

“Our specialty is providing the kind of energy heat that never lets the dancing stop,” says Oscar Robles. “That kind of energy comes back from the dance floor and in turn energizes us.”

The band’s many members hail from Mexico, Canada and Scotland.

The result is a truly multi-national orchestra and a very unique sound. Lending to Latin music’s distinct and undeniably Afro influences, the ensemble features African djembe in addition to multiple voices, trumpet, flugelhorn, keyboard, fretless bass and a range of Latin percussion.

Zandhunga has become famous for infusing their unique flavour to the classic and modern compositions of Latin greats such as Los Melodicos, Joe Arrollo, La India and many others. In addition, the performances are always generously topped with the band’s original material. Zandhunga’s roots are in Mexico City, where the group originally formed as a quintet comprised of four Mexicans and a Canadian.

For the upcoming show on Cortes, Zandhunga will perform as a quintet that features former Cortes resident Jake Masri, who – while not grooving on his trumpet – loves to reminisce telling stories of the days he once spent as a Cortes school bus driver.

The Cuban-style salsa dance workshop starts at 7:30 p.m. and costs $5, while the charge to stay and see the show is $15, or $10 with a non-perishable food bank donation. General doors open at 8:30 p.m. followed by the music. For more information about Zandhunga,  visit