Hot Times, Hot Music and Hot Dancers
Westwood-It was a record setting 95 degrees on the campus of UCLA, April 12th for the 10th Annual Festival Latino “Unidos Sin Fronteras” presented by The Latin American Student Association (LASA). This annual festival is held for the purpose of celebrating the rich diversity of Latino people.
I did everything that the medical experts advised: I consumed plenty of water; I also kept splashing my face with cold water, and stood or sat in a shaded area throughout the day.
The day was filled with live musical performances, dance, food-Cuban sandwiches, raspados, pastelitos, pupusas, tacos, aguas frescas and empanadas, arts and crafts, culture. Several thousand people were on hand to enjoy and dance to the diverse styles of music ranging from salsa, cumbia, ska, jazz, hip hop, rock/pop and reggae.
The kid’s arts and craft booth featured mask making, face painting, loteria, jewelry making led by LASA students. The adults could enjoy a free massage.
The Festival Latino presented by The Latin American Student Association is one of three events at UCLA that I look forward to each year. The other two events are the LA Times Festival of Books, April 26 & 27, and the ever popular student organized event UCLA Jazz Reggae Festival, Memorial Day Weekend.
I was able to enjoy the entire festival this year beginning with the opening and closing acts. The Frida Kahlo High School Music Group played an entertaining set of Son Jarocho music from Peru, Colombia, Bolivia and Veracruz.
Ballet Folklorico Mexicano de UCLA performed dances from different regions of Mexico: Norte, Veracruz and Jalisco. This is the oldest university folklorico groups in the nation. Mariachi Los Galleros de Los Angeles played some original music.
The St.Bernard’s High School Dance Troupe danced to the beat of hip hop music. Andres Ospina blended Colombian Folk music with rock en espanol.
I was thoroughly impressed with the conscious hip hop/rap songs performed by Corner Block Music. UCLA LASA Dance Troupe, LASA Merengue Troupe and LASA Salsa Troupe set the dance floor on fire performing to reggaeton, cumbia, merengue and salsa.
The weather as well as the talent got hotter and hotter as the day progressed. Arepa is a group of UCLA students who performed a set of rock/pop songs in Spanish. Members of this popular group are from El Salvador, Colombia, Guatemala, Cuba and Mexico.
The crowd mentally traveled to Jamaica for some original reggae tunes performed by PachaMama. Rum Boogie stayed in the groove with original reggae, ska and cumbia tunes.
The temperature kept rising and music got spicier as Rumba Buena Salsa Band provided music that resulted in a crowded dance floor for their set.
The festival concluded on a high note with original music performed by Santos De Los Angeles with Gema de Sonora Dinamita, need I say more.