Glasto Latino is the Festival’s very own corner of Latin America – full of the sights, sounds and smells of the region where rhythm, colour, movement and passion take centre stage. Situated at the entrance to the South-East Corner – between Block9 and The Common, a big decorated tent with stage and dance floor, surrounded by Latin stalls and the rocking Latino Beat bar. Every night, after the main stages finish, we hold our famous salsa parties, with top acts from around the world; in the afternoons our eye-opening dance classes bring British bootie-shaking to a new level, this year offering genuine Argentine tango and reggaeton as well as the usual salsa classes.
Once again we begin with Bristol Latin dance stars Ají Pa’ Tí. For the last two years they have packed the tent on the Thursday evening, with their unique “tropical electro-acoustic folklore”. These players from all over the world, fronted by charismatic Cuban singer Indira Román, have come together in Bristol’s super-creative music scene, developing their own blend of styles – dance to any or all of cumbia, dub, salsa, son, bolero, vallenato, bambuco and more…
For the Friday we’re lucky enough to host Europe’s finest salsa band, Mercadonegro. These guys really are ace musicians – expatriate maestros from S America and the Caribbean, their CDs are DJ favourites the world over, and they are the band of choice not just for international dance congresses and concerts, but for the biggest Latin names on their European tours – they have backed the legendary Celia Cruz, Eddie Palmieri, and many, many others. A totally class act.
Our headliner, playing Saturday night, is Orquesta Revé, aka Elito Revé Y Su Charangón, one of Cuba’s very top names, at the cutting edge of its musical scene – in an island where music and dance are a way of life. The music originates in an Afro-Cuban dance known as “changüi”, which they have combined with other Cuban rhythms – guaguanco, pachanga, timba – to create a unique and powerful sound that tears through the dance floor. What’s more, though now composed of younger musicians, they were founded in 1956! – so must be the longest-running act at the festival this year. Led since 1997 by Elito, son of original leader Elio Revé, throughout their remarkable 59-year history they have remained at the forefront of Cuban music, winning innumerable awards and prizes along the way, as well as providing the founders for Cuba’s other leading acts – Los Van Van, Ritmo Oriental, Pupy… Prepare for a treat.
To round things off, on Sunday we feature the prince of Afro-Latino, Ricardo Lemvo, with his band La Makina Loca. Raised in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (known as Zaire at the time) with Angolan family roots, Ricardo has recorded numerous international hit songs, which have earned him fame not only in North America and Europe but also in Angola, Colombia, Senegal and many other countries. His styles include Cuban and African rumba and soukous, Angolan kizomba and semba, and Cuban son and salsa. Chilled but skilled, they will keep you dancing right to the end of the festival. STOP PRESS – Ricardo has just won the Musica D’Ouro (Gold Music) award in the Angolan Music awards, after being nominated in four categories.
In the daytime, from 1 till 7, come and join in our ever-popular Latin dance classes. Completely suitable for absolute beginners, you can try a range of styles. This year our salsa teachers are Robert Charlemagne – “Mr Smooth” – who has taught many of the UK’s top instructors, and featured in last year’s hit comedy “Cuban Fury”, plus our very own resident party animal, “La Tempesta” Nigel May. New this time is tango! We have Buenos Aires-born Eduardo Bozzo, teaching his hip version of the sultry Argentinian style. New also are classes in reggaeton, the funky rhythms that young Latinos dance to the world over.
So come on down – you know you want to!
Here is a 5-minute taster of what you might find – in two flavours: