Skip to content

Guerrilla Grooves, breaking the norm in North Bay's music scene

'I won first place and that’s when I knew it was something I wanted to keep doing. I felt that it was a path for me and it is something that I really enjoy'

Rooted is all about the people and the places that make us proud to call our community home.                 


When was the last time you saw a musical performance at an antique store? How about a library or a Masonic temple? The Guerrilla Grooves project in North Bay is reshaping traditional perceptions of music venues and promoting a series of clandestine concerts orchestrated by the passionate musician and event organizer, Samanta Izquierdo. With a vision that transcends traditional venues, Izquierdo, alongside friends Sebastian Gabela and Rod Bilz, curates an immersive experience for both performers and the public. 

“We want people to experience music in a setting they may have never visited before. They may see that Masonic Temple but have no idea what it looks like inside. We did an event there and we did one at Canadore College’s Aviation campus, and we did another event at the museum,” says Izquierdo who spoke to Lisa Boivin on an episode of “To North Bay with Love” (Listen to that episode here:

Guerrilla Grooves, breaks the norm by transforming unconventional spaces into stages, exploring these spaces and how they can serve as captivating backdrops for the diverse musical talents she brings forth. 

“We go to these different places and we bring people from all over the region who come to play here, while collaborating with local artists. It was a a very good opportunity for people to do something fun.” 

Izquierdo's enthusiasm for music extends beyond her role as an artist; she's a music teacher, a singer-songwriter, and she is becoming an integral part of the North Bay creative scene.  

The journey of Guerrilla Grooves commenced just a year ago, marking its debut with those three concerts and with a grant secured, the team plans to continue this musical odyssey, scheduling the next chapter to unfold in March. "We received a grant, so we're going to carry forward, aiming to create memorable experiences for both the artists and the audience," Izquierdo revealed. 

Izquierdo’s personal journey began in South America. Originally from Ecuador, she traversed different countries before settling in North Bay for her studies in Early Childhood Education at Canadore College. Her experiences in various places, from Ecuador to Chile and the United States, added vibrant hues to her musical tapestry. 

“I love everything, every style of music, I’m very open. With my band do some rock and some experimental music and I have a background in opera singing too. I like to sing opera. But I love all genres, rock, pop, rap – I'm not a rapper but I can try! But I love music, so I’m into everything.” 

Her musical roots stem from more than a decade of singing, often accompanied by her prowess in playing the guitar and piano. Izquierdo's linguistic dexterity in both Spanish and English has given her a unique perspective on the nuances of vocal expression in different languages. 

"The tonality, the pronunciation, they all contribute to creating a distinct sound," Izquierdo explained, reflecting on the variance in voice when singing or speaking in Spanish compared to English.  

During her time in the US, Izquierdo's win at a local singing competition proved to be a defining moment, reinforcing her passion for music.  

“I went to high school in Indiana, where I sang with the local choir. We had a competition to which I was invited because one of my teachers was always motivating me to participate in different events. She said, ‘you are good, you have talent, go!’ So that was my first official competition, and I won first place and that’s when I knew it was something I wanted to keep doing. I felt that it was a path for me and it is something that I really enjoy.”  

This ignited her determination to further explore this path, eventually bringing her to Canada.  

Presently, Izquierdo channels her musical fervor not only through Guerrilla Grooves but also as an educator, teaching both kids and adults. Her observations about teaching reflect the contrasting yet equally fulfilling experiences of mentoring different age groups. 

"With kids they are more creative. If you ask them to follow an idea they just go with it and they improvise and build on it, without any shame or worry about being judge, they just do it. But with adults they are often more self-conscious but they equally passionate and eager to learn," she shared. 

For those eager to explore the magic of Guerrilla Grooves, Izquierdo directs attention to their social media presence and Eventbrite for updates on upcoming concerts. She emphasizes the thrill of discovering the secret locations where these musical gems unfold, urging enthusiasts to keep an eye out for ticket sales. 

Izquierdo's warmth and passion shines through her dedication to music, education, and creating memorable experiences through Guerrilla Grooves, which is encapsulating the spirit of North Bay's vibrant musical culture.  

If you have a story idea for “Rooted” send Matt an email at [email protected]    

Reader Feedback

Matt Sookram

About the Author: Matt Sookram

Matthew Sookram is a Canadore College graduate. He has lived and worked in North Bay since 2009 covering different beats; everything from City Council to North Bay Battalion.
Read more