By Carlos Oen
VANCOUVER -With beats, flavours, soccer, and smiles, Carnaval del Sol is a celebration of Latin American contributions to Vancouver. On July 7 and 8, Concord Pacific Place will be turned into a Latino plaza, a temporary main square, acknowledging a permanent and lively community.
“The concept of a plaza is a place to connect, help and grow. It is the same principle as how our countries developed,” says Colombian-born Paola Viviana Murillo, Founder & Director of Carnaval del Sol.
For two days live music, art, dance, sports, and poetry will act as a bridge connecting the distinct Latin American communities. The festival is also a great opportunity for the rest of Vancouverites to experience a joyful, sometimes spicy, but always rhythm-rich culture. Mexicans, Brazilians and Colombians are among the most visible and active Latino communities in this city. But the oldest Latino communities are from Chile and El Salvador, who started immigrating in the 1980s.
This is a special year for Latincouver, the organization behind the festival, for it is commemorating 10 years since Murillo started building a hub of Latinos. “The idea of Carnaval del Sol is to say, ‘Hey! We are here. We have a strong voice,’” says Murillo.
At Carnaval del Sol, you will be able to taste a choripan (an Argentinian sausage sandwich) or an arepa (a stuffed corn cake). Soak it all in hot salsa, for there will be beer put out any fires. Pay attention to bass-intense cumbia and follow your hips. Lift your spirit with fast notes from an accordion playing ballenato. Witness how a cajon peruano can carry the beat in a simple, yet profound, way.
Some of the bands that will be playing at the festival are TANGA, Matices del Sur (from Peru), Nahualli Folklore (Mexican Folklore Band), and Orqesta Tabasko (Colombian Salsa).
“Every year we see new talent coming. You see them there and they grow. I love to see that we are able to create a platform. A space for people to become what they want to be,” concludes Murillo.
Carnaval del Sol runs from July 7-8 at Concord Pacific Place.