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Quino With LoCura

World Music

Interview with Joaquin "Quino" McWhinney



Many music fans know Quino (a.k.a. Joaquin McWhinney) of Big Mountain thanks to their 1994 cover of Peter Frampton’s “Baby, I Love Your Way.” The song, which was included on the highly successful film “Reality Bites” soundtrack, became a Top 10 single.

McWhinney, who idolized Bob Marley musically and politically, was also inspired by Latino figures such as Che Guevara and Frida Kahlo. He wanted to do with music what those people had done: express the irrepressible human spirit. However, once Big Mountain was in a position to be heard loud and clear by a large audience, McWhinney came face to face with the harsh realities of the entertainment world.

“All of what I had in my heart and head didn’t mean anything to the people in the business. All of that struggle, all of that process got thrown out the window,” McWhinney said. “I think all artists are frustrated. I think the music business is always a hazardous situation. For me, my first impulse was always to be part of something that was going to inspire and strengthen people. I was inspired by revolutionaries … the whole leftist revolutionary movement out of the ’60s and ’70s. All of that stuff was really important to me.”

Ultimately, the pressures of the business took their toll and McWhinney found himself back at square one. However, now he is an older, wiser man. Although he considers himself to be frustrated, McWhinney does have a clear idea of his role and feels much more comfortable fostering change in many important ways and more importantly on his terms. He is now a family man, living in San Diego County with his wife and children. He is close to his parents. He works at Chula Vista’s Olympian High School, where he teaches digital recording, video editing, and mentors the school’s rock band, a group of students who meet on their own time to learn about the dynamics of playing together with other musicians, showmanship and professionalism.

Along with playing with his new band, Quinazo, McWhinney is also still involved in the music business through his North Park-based Big Mountain Studios. It has become a place where McWhinney can utilize the experience he gained with Big Mountain.

“It’s easier recording someone else when you’re looking at things objectively. I enjoy it because you’re trying to help them be the best they can be. You’re there to support them. I may be a frustrated artist, but I’m also someone who can take them to a higher level.”

It seems McWhinney has found a comfortable place in the business as well as his own skin.


Direct from San Francisco’s vibrant music scene, this ensemble draws from the many genres that have strong traditions in the Bay Area, bringing them together into their own distinctive sound.

LoCura’s music is strongly rooted in Flamenco, deepened through their time living in southern Spain and traveling in Morocco. But it is in the way LoCura mixes and moves in and out of other musical styles, like Reggae, Cuban Son, and Hip-Hop carried by the powerful performance and the soulful vocals of lead singer Kata, that results in an irresistible desire to move and be moved.

In Spain the expression “Ida y Vuelta” is used to describe certain styles within Flamenco that made a “round-trip” from Spain to Latin America, mixing with music from the African slave and Indigenous populations. With this idea of music traveling and music as creative resistance, LoCura takes the trip back again mixing it up with their own Califas Flamenkito, Reggae, and Cuban Son styles.

As the name implies, LoCura taps into the maelstrom of daily experiences to find that point where opposites meet and dance to convey the way different musical traditions can move so fluidly together. Moved by the music that crosses borders and takes root in different lands, LoCura draws from this creative ‘rebelde’ spirit to cultivate the cures passed on from our ancestors.

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THU 8/2, 7:30pm click to purchase tickets
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