¡VAMOS! up north…
Now just to show that London doesn’t always get all the fun, that the rest of the UK digs Latin culture too, it’s well worth heeding the vibrant ¡VAMOS! festival up in Newcastle & Gateshead, a huge biennial celebration of Latin and Lusophone culture, music and film, which began in 2006.
The visual motifs of ¡VAMOS! have tended to embrace the popular phenomenon of Lucha Libre, and in as much, one of the most entertaining elements of the festival promises to be the Mexican Wrestling Night, with theatrical battles, live music and a couple of Lucha Libre films. In terms of its big guns it’ll welcome Gilles Peterson and his Havana Cultura project to The Sage Gateshead, as well as the mesmerising Danza Contemporánea de Cuba, whilst also throwing more family-orientated activities like a picnic with bossa, flamenco and salsa rhythms, and even more intimate antics with ‘Los Paladares’ – authentic culinary experiences in Latin homes!
Brasilian twists to this year’s festival include Recycling from Brazil in Middlesbrough, a screening of last year’s Only When I Dance, and a rare chance to catch Diplo’s 2008 film Favela on Blast, all about Rio’s baile funk subculture. But one of the most innovative features of ¡VAMOS! has to be the live webcast between Cultura Inglesa in São Paulo and Culture Lab in Newcastle, an exchange of ballet, electronic and acoustic compositions, and Brazilian beats from Barbatuque, with DJs mixing between the two locations. Surely this is about as cross-culture as it gets these days!