Shuffle: The Labra Brothers Blend Funk with their Latin Roots
The Labra Brothers have formally been a Latin funk band for just a few years. But they've been playing together their whole lives. Adrian, 28, is the oldest. He started learning guitar when he was six. He then started teaching his brothers how to play.
Christian, 23, said music is in their blood. "Our grandpa grew up playing in a folk band in Mexico and he taught our dad how to play guitar. Our dad taught Adrian how to play, and it was just passed down."
Adrian said aside from their dad, their biggest influence growing up was California-based Mexican-American band, Los Lobos.
"We were all kind of entranced by their versatility and the fact that they were able to excel in so many different genres while still staying true to their Mexican-American heritage. Growing up, we kind of identified very much with that band and we aspired to be like them."
'I think we're providing something fresh and we hope that it's interesting to listeners'
Christian plays bass, Adrian plays guitar and the brothers encouraged David to take up saxophone. They all sing, and added three other members to form a full band. Danny Svenson on keyboards, Bob Young on drums and Matt Hayes on percussion.
The Labra Brothers grew up in the Youngstown suburb of Canfield, and they remain close to home. Christian and David recently moved back to Canfield and are renting a house. Adrian lives nearby.
“It’s the place where we rehearse at too, so we’re around each other all the time," David said. "It’s surprising we’re not sick of each of other. Honestly I think we get along better now than we ever have.”
This Friday (April 19), the band releases its first full-length album, Colder Weather. It's a follow-up to an EP they released a couple years ago. In early 2018, brothers launched a crowd-funding campaign on indiegogo.com with a $10,000 goal to record the new album. It raised $11,000.
"We’re very lucky to have so much support in Northeast Ohio," Adrian said.
They recorded the album with Todd Maki, founder of the Youngstown Scoring Stage.
“After we realized how far we made it with the campaign, we regrouped and rethought what we can do with the resources we have. We put a lot more effort into the recording and lot more effort into things like the artwork," Adrian said.
The band's distinct sound is drawing audiences throughout Northeast Ohio.
“We provide a change in pace," Adrian said. "I don’t think there are very many bands in the area that are able to have lyrics in Spanish. I think we’re providing something fresh, and we hope that it’s interesting to listeners.”
The Labra Brothers play an album release show Saturday (April 20) at Youngstown's Westside Bowl and have a few other concert dates throughout the summer. They say they have lots more music and touring in the works.