Four musicians from Vancouver Island have been travelling in B.C. cheering people up, one small town at a time.
Los Borrachos lead singer Kevin Falkenberg said the band was inspired to tour after seeing rates of depression and suicide increasing around the world because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We thought there’s got to be something we can do with music, some way we can put smiles on faces,” Falkenberg said after the band performed in the parking lot at Cariboo Place, a long-term care home in Williams Lake.
While they performed several residents sat listening from a balcony, while on a ground floor patio another resident enjoyed dancing to the music, joined by some of the staff members.
Falkenberg said drummer Randy Freeman built a a fold-down stage for the motor home they are travelling in and about six weeks ago they hit the road.
“We stick to small towns because the crowd control is a lot easier. We haven’t had any bad scenarios where we’ve had too many people crowding in front of the stage,” Falkenberg said.
Normally he lives in Vietnam working as a musician, but was home visiting his parents in Port Alberni when his return flight was cancelled due to the pandemic.
On Monday, Sept. 21, while they were playing music outside the library in Williams Lake, a care-aid invited the band to play at Cariboo Place.
Kristen Riddle, recreation co-ordinator for Cariboo Place, said through the pandemic there have been parking lot concerts about twice a month residents.
“They can watch from their rooms, from the patios or from the livingrooms,” Riddle said.
Falkenberg said he and lead guitarist Bobby Francis Armich have been playing together for 13 years and travel around the world performing.
When they are home in Canada, they are joined by Freeman and bass player Aaron James, who they met in Vietnam, but is originally from Nanaimo.
Los Borrachos will be in 100 Mile House on Tuesday evening, in Kamloops on Wednesday, Lillooet on Friday and will be returning to play a the Clinton Farmers Market on Sunday.
“It’s been really cool, everybody has been really into it,” Falkenberg said.
Armich said they did a Vancouver Island tour and have done two tours in the Interior.
“I never thought it would work, but it has and keeps going on and on,” he said.
Nodding his head toward the seniors sitting on the balcony, Armich noted his mom was in a care home before she passed.
“I know what it’s like and you have to give back,” he said.