10 years of La Linea festival

The barrage of latin music descends upon London for its 10th year

Ever since Omara Portuondo and Ozomatli played the very first edition back in 2001, La Linea’s been fanning the flames of London’s rather passionate love affair with Latin music, showcasing top acts from Café Tacuba, Paco Peña, Gotan Project and Ojos de Brujo, to good ol’ Seu Jorge.

Marking the 10th anniversary of the event, this year’s festival looks no less diverse and entertaining: take in some Villa-Lobos with the UK’s fine young classical musicians of Machaca, or Salsa Celtica’s Cuban-Scottish cross pollination, in contrast to the ‘americana-cubana’ sound of Amparo Sanchez’s current project, Tucson Havana. Tango Siempre will unfurl an intense show armed with Gotan Project’s Victor Villena, Argentinian troubadour Kevin Johansen tours a rather quirky live collaboration with cartoonist Liniers (and his overhead projector!), and there’s the all-female 10-piece Mariachi Femenil Nuevo Tecalitlán outfit, accompanied by LA’s mariachi punks, Mariachi El Bronx.

Speaking of the Bronx, and surely the cherry on La Linea’s cake, Kid Creole & The Coconuts will kick off the whole festival with their Latin-tropical sounds and “multi-cultural, rainbow, mulato, mutant music”, the career of which blossomed far from their NY origins as they were embraced by Europe, and most fondly by London. As put by frontman August Darnell, they’re a “fun band, it’s escapism, it’s entertainment, theatrical, so even if you didn’t know the music you’d love the show’, and we’re pretty sure feet will be tapping.

The Top Three Latin shows
Of La Linea 2010

A celebration of the mournful genre, with 10-woman strong Mexican band Mariachi Femenil Nuevo Tecalitlán, and the punky LA outfit Mariachi El Bronx.
26th April, 7.30pm, £15-25
Barbican Hall

Capturing the spirit of the festival, the troupe will be back with classic hits such as ‘Stool Pigeon’, ‘Annie, I’m not Your Daddy’, and ‘I’m a Wonderful thing Baby’, with Horse Meat Disco throwing the afterparty.
April 22nd, 7.30pm, £15-25
Barbican Hall

Present Malandras del Tango, featuring the Gotan Project’s Bandoneon player, Victor Villena, vocalist Guillermo Rozenthuler and dancers Alexandra and Giraldo
28th April, 7.30pm, £12-16+bf
Queen Elizabeth Hall

La Linea: The London Latin Music Festival
22nd – 30th April, Various venues and prices

A fast chat with Kid Creole

You live in London and Sweden?

True. I have a house in Sweden which also serves as my recording studio – it’s idyllic.

How come?
I spend more time in Europe now than in my hometown, New York – I’ve just fallen in love with all things European, a direct result of touring and seeing the world.

And America?
They love pigeonholing bands, whereas I found Europe much more open to types of music, they embrace us as an eclectic band that plays everything.

What about Brasil?
Went down a storm in Brasil in the early 80s; they identified with us due to the salsa and Latino influence dominant in those days.

Final reflections?
I can look back at an incredible career, I’m fortunate to have survived that long in this fickle industry, still touring, still recording, and we’re still allowed to make the music we want to.

Full interview to follow shortly

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