Participants of an open Cuban drumming workshop to get the people moving with the Tromboranga band in Sandton City. Photo: Aneesa Adams
The spicy Afro-Latin festival was back for the third year since its inception and it was hotter than ever.
Taking place at Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel in Sandton, it was an immersive cultural experience. The loud and joyous celebration of Afro-Latin dance and music was about bringing communities together.
Styles of salsa, bachata, tango, kizomba and other related African heritage genres were all the order of the day. A four-day event, it showcased the proudly South African way with local dances such as pantsula, and there were special workshops with international and local choreographers such as Elvis Sibeko and Afro-Latin seminars.
This year was special because international salsa band Tromboranga played in Africa for the first time. Band leader Joaquin Arteaga from Venezuela has written and recorded a song right here on African soil. Titled Baila Afrika which means Dance Africa, it was inspired by Arteaga’s previous visit to the festival. The song will be released later this year.
“I’m enjoying myself, it’s a very nice festival to be at and while here, I am teaching musicality and production and collaborating with different dancers. I loved it last year and this year is even better,” said Arteaga.
Excited to be mingling with people from around the world, he said it was important to keep Afro-Latin dance and music alive.
CEO and co-founder of the festival, Catherine Hill explained the importance of such a festival.
“We felt that it was a brilliant opportunity to bring Afro-Latin culture together through music and dance. I love bringing diverse communities together and that’s what it is about. The idea is that it really promotes cultural diversity, it’s the best way to bring strangers into one space. We are very blessed and it’s an honour to host it here,” she said.
Taking place in March every year, preparations for next year’s festival are already in place.
“We hope to do more live music, integrate the South African jazz culture and definitely more community work,” added Hill.
The festival ended off with a colourful Sunday Carnival on 15 March.
For more information about the festival visit: www.afrolatinfestival.co.za
Breakdancing straight into success
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