News | 21 January 2021
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Adding a taste of salsa to Gardens Magic

The musical line-up for Gardens Magic is filled with diversity, and award-winning Wellington salsa band C-26 is no exception.

A close-up shot of Colombian salsa singer, Anayibi Loboa Linan singing into a microphone in a red-lit room.

C-26 is set to perform at the Wellington Botanic Garden ki Paekākā Soundshell tonight (Thursday 21 January) from 8pm.

The seven-piece band is made up of Latino and Kiwi musicians from predominantly jazz backgrounds, with singer Anayibi Loboa Linan saying this combined gives their music “a unique culture and flavour”.

Anayibi, a trained biochemist, came to Aotearoa from Cali, Colombia, in 2001.

She says classic salsa was the soundtrack to her youth, as friends and family would congregate at her family home all the time to listen and dance to salsa music.

Anayibi always wanted to sing salsa, a genre of music she says is more commonly sung by men.

She decided to start her own band after moving to Wellington, and came up with the name C-26, which is a reference to her home city and country and the street number where she grew up.

C-26’s music is inspired by salsa classics from Cuba and Puerto Rico and pays respect to the greats of salsa music. The band won the New Zealand Latin Award as best Latin band 2020.


Anayibi says she and her band members are looking forward to performing at Gardens Magic.


It will be our first time performing in such an amazing and beautiful place! We can’t wait to interact with the public and see them dance to our tunes.”

Wellington-based salsa band C-26, pictured in black and white, with seven male musicians standing up and Colombian female singer Anayibi Loboa Linan siting on a seat in front of them.

As well as singing, Anayibi plays some percussion instruments – a talent she learnt from her brother.


Also in the band is: conga player and backup singer Mike Trujillo, a roofer and football player originally from Peru; timbal player and backup singer Rafael Ferrer, who is originally from Cuba; Wellington saxophonist Blair Latham, who is also a composer and multi-instrumentalist; Kiwi James Guilford who plays trumpet and has also performed with the RNZAF Band and the Rodger Fox Big Band; Kiwi bass player Jacqui Nyman, who started learning guitar at age five from her mother; and Kiwi pianist Ayrton Foote, a jazz lover who especially enjoys the use of improvisation.


Anayibi says there are a lot of reasons why she is passionate about her adopted home, Pōneke.

Wellington gave us the opportunity to be in the music scene – it welcomed a new genre that wasn’t all that well known previously.


“I love that Wellingtonians are so friendly and laid back, and they’re very supportive of arts and their community. I also love that you can always find live music in a lot of venues around town!”