Latin culture in Vamos! Festival 2010 in Newcastle (UK)

08/05/2010 at 9:53 am Leave a comment

The band Rumba North East performed a Parranda (Venezuelan carnival) song written in honour of the lively biennial festival which celebrates Spanish and Portuguese-speaking cultures. Bandleader Francisco Volcan, playing the cuatro, a Venezuelan stringed instrument, was accompanied by musicians and dancers dressed in Latin American costumes at the opening ceremony.

Director Nik Barrera said: “This is an exciting time and we have a close engagement with existing groups and artists in the region, making the festival vibrant and accessible.

“There is an increased visible representation of people either from Latin and Lusophone cultures or knowledgeable and passionate about these cultures.

“The first year in 2006 set the scene and now the biggest challenge is fitting in all the people who want to contribute.”

¡Vamos! takes place across the North East from July 2-11 and includes Mexican films, Cuban dance, Afro-Peruvian music, Angolan photography, art exhibitions, picnics, talks, and secret restaurants.

Co-director Patricia Oliart adds: “¡Vamos! is a very fluid festival and brings on board whatever is around from the region and from other cultures with a contribution this year from Angola.”

Festival highlights include Havana Cultura Live at The Sage Gateshead celebrating Cuba’s freshest musical talent. It will be followed by a dance party with DJ Gilles Peterson.

Also at The Sage is Latin Fever Live, performed by five Latin American dancing duos including Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova from the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.

Outdoor events include free entertainment at Gateshead’s Saltwell Park for a family-friendly picnic with children’s games and activities.

¡Vamos! is supported by Newcastle United players Jonas Gutierrez, an Argentinian international, and Spanish defender Jose Enrique. Jonas said: “I am engrossed by Latin music and play it all the time, even at the training ground – the rest of the team love it! I am sure the festival will be a great success.”

¡Vamos! has a special connection with Newcastle University which will host a new performance by Contemporánea De Cuba and show the Brazilian film Only When I Dance.

New for 2010 is a programme of film and photography from acclaimed film makers and artists dealing with the tension between Angolan and Portuguese diaspora. Films hosted by the Instituto Camões will be shown at the Great North Museum.

A Mexican film festival, supported by the Mexican Embassy in the UK, will be held at the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle. Films about the Mexican Revolution, which began in 1910, show how the overthrow of Spanish power was interpreted by different generations of filmmakers.

A hub for the festival will be located in empty (former building society) premises in Newcastle which will host talks and events. Showing will be a photographic exhibition, Modernity in the Modern Andes, with work by ground-breaking Peruvian photographer Martin Chambi.

Alison Clark-Jenkins, regional director of Arts Council England, said: “¡Vamos! brings together internationally significant artists through a variety of events and gives people an opportunity to experience and take part in world-class art.”

The first year set the scene and now the biggest challenge is fitting in all the people who want to contribute

More information visit:


Hola Mexico Film Festival 2010 brochure Exitoso estreno del filme La Yuma en Nicaragua

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