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Cristian De La Luna showcases talent and a new album

The Colombian-born singer-songwriter uses music to heal and will perform at the Plaza Series.

Halfway through a 2020 Canadian tour, Latin-pop artist Cristian De La Luna was forced to return home to St. Albert. The monster known as COVID was spreading and every venue across the country went dark.

“We were lucky. We had a bunch of online shows, and we had a couple of videos we produced. It was hard financially, but I also learned different skills – online streaming and music production,” said De La Luna.

Supporting a family of five with three children ranging from nine to 18 years was difficult. Fortunately, the regional entertainment community rallied to assist artists, and he picked up a series of small contracts working behind the scenes in video editing and sound.

On the plus side, without the grind and distraction of touring, the Colombian-born singer completed original material for his third album, What will happen? (What Will Happen?) due for release in September. His first single from him, remember (Remember), is a whimsical meditation on childhood. It dropped earlier this month, and signals a shift in thematic content.

“The themes are a little more joyful. It’s a healing album. Remember talks about memories of when we were kids. It’s a beautifully nostalgic and happy part of our lives that kept us alive and made us what we are today. I’m trying to heal the past. The album is an invitation to heal, to make contact. It’s joyful,” De La Luna said.

The Latin singer-songwriter’s second project, You know (Do You Know) was released in October 2018. It explored the upbeat grooves between Caribbean rhythms, funk, and pop, but at the time De La Luna viewed himself as an activist focused on dismantling barriers and promoting equality.

This guiding principle was ingrained after De La Luna’s father, Norberto Murillo, was arrested in the 1989 assassination of Colombia’s leading presidential candidate, Luis Carlos Galan.

At the time, Pablo Escobar, the leader of the Medellín drug cartel, had a stranglehold on the drug trade Galan tried to eradicate. Galan, a powerful political threat, was silenced.

Murillo, a small-town newspaper journalist, was arrested with four others on trumped-up charges. Escobar was eventually found guilty of ordering the assassination, but not before Murillo spent three-and-a-half years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

De La Luna was only 10-years old at the time of his father’s arrest. During Murillo’s prison stay, his wife and children lived on the streets, moving from place to place. After Murillo’s release, the family applied to Canada for asylum and arrived in 1999.

During the pandemic shutdown, De La Luna reflected on how the traumatic experience affected his family. He coped by applying to a master’s degree in the creative writing program at the University of Valencia with the intent of writing his family’s story.

“I’m in a different spectrum than when I came. Eventually everybody heals and I had good things happen in my life. Through the art of music I found a healing path to being more aware of what happens in the world. My story is not to be a victim. I want to make sure I don’t put myself in the place of a victim. I came to this country not knowing the language, and here I can follow my dream and succeed.”

De La Luna will perform at the Arden Theatre’s Plaza Series along with supporting musicians Nathan Ouellette (drums), Raphaël Freynet (bass), and Audrey Ochoa (trombone).

The concert is Thursday, July 28 at 7:30 pm at 5 St. Anne St. Single tickets are $15, and a premium table for six is ​​$120. Purchasers can call the Arden box office at 780-459-1542 or via email at [email protected]

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