Latino Life Summer 2 2023

Page 1

Send money around the world. Transfer money to 200+ countries and territories via In-Store Western Union® App New customer offer! £0 transfer fee* best FX rate on your first online transfer. * Western Union also makes money from currency exchange. When choosing a money transmitter, carefully compare both transfer fees and exchange rates. Fees, foreign exchange rates and taxes may vary by brand, channel, and location based on a number of factors. Fees and rates subject to change without notice. Western Union is authorized and regulated by the Austrian Financial Market Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority. ©2023 Western Union Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved. All trademarks, service marks, and trade names referenced in this material are the property of their respective owners.

We are beyond excited about this year’s LatinoLife in the Park –the UK’s largest Latin Music festival, which will be showering it’s magic on West London for the first time. Personally, I can’t wait to see our first female headliner: Lucy Calcines’ Tribute to the Great Latin Divas. There are few female voices who have either the chops of Celia Cruz or La India or the charisma of Selena, Gloria Estefan and J-Lo to even attempt to sing their songs. But in Lucy we found that person; it’s not for nothing that her audition on The Voice UK garnered 32 million views. This year you’ll find a more condensed festival where every corner – whether its Little Colombia or Amazonia Corner - presents a feast for the senses. You’ll find all the details inside. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Welcome to • • FIT @latinolifeuk ISSUE N0. 33 Summer 2023 contents Editor Amaranta Wright • Music Editor Jose Luis Seijas Designer Antonella Perreca • Cover photo Juan Pedro Leon SHE WHO DEMANDS THE STAGE An Interview with LatinoLife headliner Lucy Calcines MAIN STAGE LINE-UP LITTLE COLOMBIA & LITTLE BRAZIL THE GREAT LATIN DIVAS A Tribute to the Great Latina Artists of our time VIVA SALSA STAGE Our stage dedicated to salsa, merengue and bachata REGGAETON’S ROMANTIC An interview with Jay Wheeler FESTIVAL MAP WHAT’S ON Latin Things to do in London LATINOLIFE IN THE PARK Festival Guide 04 06 37 38 16 18 33 34 42 14 GALERIA LatinoLife @ Lambeth Country Show

On Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 June we brought the Latin party to Brixton with two stages at The Lambeth Country Show. The Viva Fiesta Stage was all about the Latino club feel: we brought Candela Records’ exciting roster of artists and other performers from the UK’s burgeoning urban Latin scene, plus London’s hottest party DJs. On the LatinoLife Stage we kicked off with an incredible kaleidoscope of dance and drumming troupes from all over the continent, then London’s finest Latino came out in force followed by the joyous Colombian rhythms and charisma of Angelica Lopez and the electrifying and high energy Afro-Cuban funk of Alvarez Funk.


us for the
West London!

She Who Demands the Stage

Diva is the Latin word for goddess and Cuban-Spanish singer, Lucy Calcines, became just that when her performance on The Voice UK in 2020 raised the studio to its feet, got four judges turning and became the most streamed performance of the series. Then the pandemic hit. Out of lockdown a more mature artist has emerged, taking inspiration from the great female goddesses that have gone before to carve out her own identity. Ximena García talks to Lucy about that amazing live audition that went viral and the challenge of taking on the iconic songs of Selena, Gloria Estefan, JLo, Celia Cruz and La India, when she takes to the stage as the first female headliner at LatinoLife in the Park 2023.


“Ithink I’m a little diva. My personality is very extra. When it comes to a show, I love the glitter,” confesses Lucy Calcines.

This was startlingly obvious when the Cuban-Spanish singer appeared on British prime-time TV back in 2020. With the first belt of her voice, from deep in her lungs as she launched into J Balvin’s Mi Gente,’s eyes practically popped out of his head. Without hesitation, the US music mogul pressed his button (he gets it), Lucy’s face lit up and she was off, in star mode, hyping the crowd and giving all four judges no choice but to turn their chairs.

That single performance on The Voice UK became the most streamed of the series. Fast forward three years, post-pandemic, and 32 million views later, Lucy appeared at LatinoLife in the Park’s 2nd stage, grabbed the microphone and launched into a medley of the songs from another Latin diva, the late Tejana singer Selena Quintanilla. The crowd immediately reacted, both to Lucy’s incredible vocals and to the iconic songs they had been brought up with. Bringing back memories of their childhood, igniting pride in their heritage, they all sang along; English audience members stunned and delighted at the spectacle. Taking us all by surprise, Lucy’s performance naturally led to the idea of a tribute to the great women of Latin music; this diva clearly had the chops and the charisma to take on the challenge. Lucy Calcines demands the stage, and so the stage is given.

Lucy was born in Gran Canaria, Spain, after her Cuban parents migrated there. Her father, a classical tenor singer, who also sang traditional Cuban music and plays the guitar. Her mother, also a performer: “Her thing was 80s music like Whitney Houston. In fact, she used to play lots of

R&B in the house. This helped me influence the style of music I wanted to do.”

Lucy knew from a very young age that she was meant to be an artist. “I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t singing. I watched my parents on stage since I was very little. I loved seeing them perform,” she says. “I didn’t have the best time at school. As a Latina who was very artsy, outgoing and liked to dress up, I was a bit of an outcast from Spanish society. I didn’t really fit in. Canaria is a little town and everyone is very quiet. I used to get a lot of criticism because I was an extrovert.”

In 2015 Lucy decided to come to London to study music business and management at Middlesex University. “I wanted to gain knowledge about the industry so I could navigate it better and also to be able to manage my own career. If I stayed in Spain, I would have just kept doing the same. Going to London meant having more opportunities.” Strangely, it was in London that Lucy became involved with the Latin community and Latin music. “In Spain, the Latino communities don’t really stick together. In London, I started to discover what was going on with the Latin scene, and it really helped me a lot. I learned how big the community is. But my god, so many Colombians live in London!” Lucy recalls.


“Reggaeton has become very commercialised and repetitive. It doesn’t feel authentic, I love my Latin music, but I began to find inspiration in female artists like Selena, JLO,
Gloria Estefan whose paths I identify with.”

Releasing her debut song, ‘Ain’t Got Time’, which received 96,000 views, Lucy dedicated her time to posting her work on YouTube and Instagram. One day, a producer from The Voice UK got in touch with her. “At first, I was a little hesitant because I had already tried out for The X Factor and didn’t really enjoy the experience. I assumed it would be similar, but I still decided to go ahead because I wanted to believe it could be a positive experience. And that’s when crazy stuff started to happen.”

After her audition which garnered a phenomenal 32 million, she chose to collaborate with, who characterised her as “a rare specimen and someone that comes around every once in a while.” The Black Eyed Peas frontman assisted Lucy in developing her own sense of style, organisation and voice. “He said that I need to have a tangible product. I need to be more specific on what I want when I’m creating a song.”

Not long after her first few weeks on the show, COVID hit and the show was indefinitely postponed. “That was honestly horrible. I’m not going to lie. It was one of the worst experiences of my life. I got to a very low point psychologically. It was really hard to go through those times because my career was beginning to grow and then everything stopped.”

Despite her many challenges, after a while Lucy began to focus on her work and making new songs. She began looking for inspiration in other styles of music that were popping around the world. “I can honestly say that BTS and K-pop saved my life!” she laughs. “What they were doing and the concepts they used inspired me musically.”

During this time, Lucy also realised that reggaetón, which is what every Latin artist is expected to do, wasn’t for her. “The genre has become very commercialised and repetitive. It doesn’t feel authentic, I love my Latin music, but I began to look to iconic female artists like Selena, JLO, or Gloria Estefan whose paths I identified more with.”

“I learnt (from Selena) how to talk with the audience by just watching her shows, as she had a particular way of connecting with her fans.”

Principally, Lucy points out, all these artists, along with La India and to a lesser extent Celia Cruz, have made their careers as immigrants: they were the first cross over artists and paved the way for others to come. “As immigrants they had to adapt and change, drawing on influences from around them while obviously being rooted in a very strong musical culture of their own. Selena’s parents were Mexican, but she was born in Texas, and came back to Latin music later. Growing up as an immigrant, your first instinct is to want to belong to the society you grow up in. But then you appreciate later that you have another unique culture to draw on, that kicks in later on.”

Lucy began to watch lots of videos of Selena. “I learnt how to talk with the audience by just watching her shows, as she had a particular way of connecting with her fans,” she says of the star who was murdered at the height of her fame, ironically, by the manager of her fan club. “I see a lot of myself in Selena. She helped me to show my vibe more on stage and to be able to connect with people because, believe it or not, I’m really shy.”

Jenifer Lopez is another inspiration. “I didn’t grow up listening to a lot of Latin music, but I did listen to J-Lo,” she says of the daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants who went on to become the biggest Latina star on the planet and the epitome of the American dream, singing at Joe Biden’s inauguration. “Again, she made her name in hip-hop and R&B, before really having the confidence to reveal her Latin identity. She’s an actress, singer, and dancer, and that’s actually something I want to do as well.”

A tribute to great Latina divas wouldn’t be complete without the ultimate salsa goddess, Celia Cruz, who popularised tropical rhythms and became one of the biggest symbol of Latin music from the 1960s, when she left Cuba, to when she died in 2003.

“I didn’t grow up listening to a lot of Latin music, but I did listen to J-Lo. She made her name in hip-hop and R&B, before really having the confidence to reveal her Latin identity.”

“I identify with her because I’ve always felt very Cuban because both of my parents are Cuban, and it’s just something that I’ve always had within me. As I get older, I have started listening to more Cuban music and obviously it’s an inspiration to see such a successful Cuban woman and how she relished her Cuban-ness. I feel like I’ve taken that from her and then from Gloria Estefan, another Cuban diva who dominated the stages in the United States.”


Gloria Estefan arrived in America at a very young age and settled in Miami. After meeting her lifelong part Emilio, she began singing in his band The Miami Sound Machine. But it was clear Gloria was the star and Emilio made her so. Like Selena and J-Lo, Gloria also went back to her Latin roots after becoming a popstar. Her third studio album as a solo artist Mi Tierra sold over five million copies worldwide in 1993 and was the first record to reach number one on the newly created Billboard Top Latin Albums.

“I admire Gloria because she continued to honour her Latin heritage while being a global star in English. And also want to do both,” says Lucy. “I think we don’t really have Latin divas like that anymore because urban music has taken over. I kind of miss the elegance that they used to have. For me La India is the ultimate Latin Diva; she’s one of the best Latina vocalists ever and her songs are perfect to get over a heartbreak!”

“It’s an inspiration to see such a successful Cuban woman and how she relished her Cuban-ness. I feel like I’ve taken that from Celia and then from Gloria Estefan.”

Lucy and her team are now preparing a unique show that pays tribute to these amazing women, as well as singing her own songs. It’s quite a challenge she admits. “I love it because it’s the first time that I’m actually performing with a live band, and I just love the energy around the musicians. There’ll also be few surprises, like my mom’s coming to sing with me! I think it’s going to be a really fun show.” Indeed, now the big girl, who still looks like a baby, has her stage to show the diva that she is.

Lucy will headline the main stage at LatinoLife in the Park on Saturday 5th August in Walpole Park

2 13




The UK’s largest Latin festival returns for its 7th year to shower Latin love and sprinkle Latin magic over West London

Produced and run by Latinos, for everybody, and voted Britain’s ‘Most Inclusive Festival’, LatinoLife in the Park has built an outstanding reputation for delivering authentic and high-quality music and dance. Each year, it selects the best new UK-based Latin American, Spanish and Portuguese artists as well as exciting international guests, to showcase the diversity of Latin genres within their cultural contexts.

This year, in addition to our usual fantastic stages, we’re bringing a full-on immersive cultural experience; between the stages, guests might stumble upon ‘Little Colombia’ or get lost in our Brazilian ‘Amazonia’ village. On our main stage, we’re celebrating the Great Divas of Latin Music with Lucy Calcines, one of the world’s best female voices in Spanish. For the first time a Viva Salsa Stage delivers a dedicated programme to salsa, bachata and merengue. Finally, you’ll witness the biggest folk dance parade a London park has ever scene.

So, be part of our wonderful community, express yourself, wear your flag, show your pride, dance like nobody’s watching (or like everybody is watching!), spend quality time with family and friends, find new flavours, be inspired by great music and entertained by stunning dance shows and even…fall in love @ LatinoLife in the Park 2023!


On this year’s Main Stage ‘The Voice’ sensation Lucy Calcines will be interpreting the anthems of the Great Latin Divas - Selena, Celia Cruz, Gloria Estefan, J-Lo and La India - with the phenomenal voice that earned her the show’s most viewed audition ever. Other highlights include Alvarez Funk’s high-energy Afro-Cuban extravaganza and a tribute to the folk music of the Andes with Lokandes. The Candela Sound System and Reggaeton Explosion sets present the very best homegrown urban Latin talent. Last but not least The Biggest Dance Extravaganza - A parade of up to 300 dancers and drummers, their colourful costumes and diverse sounds pulsating through the festival – will deliver a guaranteed feast for the senses!

1 16

Headliner 8:30pm



Cuban-Spanish singer-songwriter, Lucy Calcines, became an overnight sensation when her Blind Audition on the The Voice UK became the show’s most viewed performance globally, with over 32 million views. She achieved a 4-chair turn by superstar coaches Meghan Trainor, Sir Tom Jones, Olly Murs and and went on to become a Semifinalist.

Lucy has since returned to her roots of singing in Spanish and last year wowed our audience on the 2nd stage at LatinoLife in the Park with an impromptu medley of the songs from Selena Quintanilla, the beautiful, charismatic, tejana singer, whose life was tragically cut-short in 1995 when she was murdered just before her 24th birthday, by her own friend.

The audience reaction to Lucy’s incredible voice and tribute to one the most influential and loved Latin artists of all time, sowed the seeds of an idea we have been working on ever since – to honour the great women of Latin music. There are few female voices currently on the Latin music scene who have either the chops of Celia Cruz or La India or the charisma of Selena, Gloria Estefan and J-Lo to even attempt to sing their songs – spanning a range of genres from ranchero and pop to house and salsa, a genre notoriously difficult to sing. But in Lucy we found that person, which is why we were so excited to invite her to take the most coveted spot in UK Latin Music – The LatinoLife Headline Act.

Lucy’s mastery of the switch between English and Spanish, her extensive vocal range and on-stage charisma, as well as her understanding of diverse music, is what makes this artist special. As well as taking on some of Latin music’s most iconic anthems, she’ll sing her own hits ‘Fresa’ and ‘Bombon.’ In addition, she has rearranged two of her own compositions ‘Alas’ and ‘Pop’ as salsas, and will perform J Balvin’s ‘Mi Gente’, the tune she brought the house down with in the studios of The Voice.

Four years on from that phenomenal UK debut, and with last year’s stunning festival performance under her belt, we find a more seasoned artist, a woman who knows herself better and is more ready to take on the biggest challenge of her career; putting her own stamp on the music of her idols and revealing the fully blossomed Latina singersongwriter that she is, to her Latino home crowd. We can’t wait!

2 17

Nobody does diva like a Latina, and in a music industry dominated by machismo and male leads, you damn well have to know how to be one, with charm included, to get ahead. Some of our divas have great voices, others electrifying stage presence, all of them have made their careers as immigrants. From the ultimate Latin diva to the original Latin diva, here are the women who have had to prove their talent to become superstars and their iconic songs, ahead this year’s LatinoLife in the Park where we honour them.


Long before the likes of J-Lo and Shakira appeared on the scene, a young Texasborn mexicana single-handedly familiarised US audiences with Mexican music and brought pride to the US’ Mexican population. By 1995, at the time of her untimely death at the age of 24, Selena Quintanilla had become the world’s first crossover Central American superstar, breaking down racial barriers and uniting audiences with her winning combination of rancheras, cumbias, soul and pop and her unique relationship with fans. Her single, “Como la Flor”, became one of her most popular signature songs and , with her album Live! (1993), she was the first Tejana artist to win a Grammy. In 1994, she released Amor Prohibido, which became one of the best-selling Latin albums in the United States.

At the height of her popularity, Selena was shot dead on March 31, 1995, by Yolanda Saldívar, Selena’s friend and manager of her fan club. In the months leading up to the murder, Saldívar had been accused by Selena’s father of mismanagement, after he discovered she had embezzled more than $30,000 via forged checks. He banned Saldívar from having any contact with Selena, but Selena did not want to dissolve their friendship. On the day of the murder, Selena met with Saldívar in her motel room at the Days Inn in Corpus Christi. Saldívar shot her. Critically wounded, Selena ran towards the lobby and collapsed on the floor as the clerk called the emergency services, with Saldívar chasing after her.

News of Selena’s death generated complete hysteria. Fans lined up for almost a 1 mile to see her casket. Rumours that the casket was empty began circulating, prompted the Quintanilla family to have an open-casket viewing, allowing 40,000 fans to pass by, with 78,000 signing a book of condolence. They say the reaction at the time was akin to the death of one of the Beatles and Elvis. What was it that made her such an icon? It is easy to forget just how many people took comfort from someone who looked and sounded - she sung in English and Spanish - just like them.

Two weeks later, Texas Governor George W. Bush declared Selena’s birthday Selena Day in Texas. Her posthumous crossover album, Dreaming of You (1995), debuted


at the top the Billboard 200, making Selena the first Latin artist to accomplish this. Selena has sold around 30 million records worldwide, making her the best-selling artist in Latin music, bigger than Marc Anthony. America called her the “Tejano Madonna.” Perhaps Madonna was the American Selena. In 1997, Warner Bros. released the movie ‘Selena’ which starred Jennifer Lopez as Selena, a role that gave birth to the next Latina superstar.

playing Selena in the Tejana star’s bio-pic, La Lopez began to hit the big time. “When I was doing Selena, I thought, ‘God, I really miss singing and dancing and sharing that with the public,” she recalls. More realistically, Lopez clearly got a taste of the kind of stardom that Selena had coveted. That was what she really wanted. She wanted to surpass Selena, not be her.

As divas hungry for fame do, Jenny from the block managed to engineer a meeting with Tommy Mottola, the president of Sony Records. Impressed by her demo, he signed her up, and in 1998 she started work on her debut album, On The 6, which unashamedly piggy-backing on the explosion of R&B, went platinum in the States within months of hitting the stores. Her relationship with Sean Combs, aka P Diddy didn’t hurt of course, along with her appearance in a stunning green Versace dress at the Grammys, and a small scandal in a night club involving a ‘shooting’ (ooh dangerous) on the front pages, but by the time was well and truly an A-list celeb she’s moved on, now with her new name J-Lo.

This ultimate Latin diva needs no intro. J-Lo is simply the biggest Latina star on the planet. Never mind Latin diva, we’re talking Mega-Uber Global diva. Born on July 24, 1970, in New York’s Bronx to Puerto Rican parents, Jennifer never wanted an ordinary life. Although her mother, a kindergarten teacher, and her father, a computer specialist, wanted her to study, Jennifer was having none of it. She wanted to sing, to dance, to act and most of all, she wanted to be beyond famous. At 17, she landed a place at Manhattan’s Dance Studio, dividing her time between the Studio and high school but it wasn’t until 1997 that, having landed the part

The rest is history, starring roles in Hollywood blockbusters, Grammy winning albums, lots of high-profile affairs, with other Hollywood stars that “kept her in the news. Raunchy “Bennifer” (Jennifer and Ben Affleck) called it quits in January, 2004. And she was soon linked to Marc Anthony, the biggest Latin Artist. And, in a surprise turn of events, the two suddenly tied the knot in June, 2004, just four days after Marc’s divorce from former Miss Universe. How very Latino. But it was J-Lo’s undeniably phenomenal performance, at the age of 50, at the Super Bowl half time cemented her status of greatest Latin Diva of all time that. Whatever you think of her singing talents, nobody could deny the spellbinding acrobatics and singing spectacle and the plain sexiness of a woman who, in another life, might be sitting on a sofa like the rest of us. In honour of this very performance, Lucy has chosen one of its key songs: ‘Let’s Get Loud’.



From the ultimate to the original Latin diva, our ‘Reina de la Salsa’ was born in 1920’s Havana. An avid performer of santería and traditional yoruba songs, Celia spent her youth winning musical competitions and was lead singer for La Sonora Matancera, Cuba’s most popular band ever, when Fidel Castro assumed power in 1959. In the early 60s, the whole band left to tour in Mexico and never returned. From there Celia arrived in the US, but it wasn’t until 1973 when Fania records, began aggressively marketing the sound that became known as ‘salsa’ that her career.

Part of the famous trip that took the Fania All Stars to Zaire in 1974 to perform in the Kinshasha stadium, from then on Celia was the undisputed “Queen of Salsa” until her death in 2003, outliving salsa’s popularity peak in the late 70s, to continue her success in the 80s. That decade not only witnessed Cruz reuniting with La Sonora Matancera for an album, it also found her making an entry in The Guinness Book Of World Records for a free outdoor concert in Tenerife – at that time the biggest event of its kind, attracting 250,000 people. Recalling the concert, she said: “An event like that goes to show the importance of

exporting the music of my tiny homeland throughout the world.”

‘La Vida es un carnaval’, which Lucy will sing, is one of Cruz’s most popular songs, from her 1998 album “Mi vida es cantar” (1998). This song won the award for “Tropical Song of the Year” at the 2003 Lo Nuestro Awards .


There was once a little Cuban girl who was dragged from house to house by her mum in Miami watching the signs: ‘no children, no pets, no Cubans.’ ”Miami was the deep South, don’t forget, a difficult place for non-white Americans. The fear of the Cuban invasion was just beginning,” Gloria Estefan told LatinoLife.

Gloria Estefan epitomises the American Dream: from revolution, exile, immigration and hardship to becoming the world’s first ever mainstream Latina pop star and one half of Latin Music’s most famous couple.

“We had nothing when we came to Miami,” Gloria continues. “The Cubans ripped up my mum’s degree when she left so she couldn’t get a decent job and my father was still in prison in Cuba.” Gloria’s father joined them when she was 6, but not long after, went to fight in Vietnam.


When he returned, he contracted Multiple Sclerosis, which was later proved to be caused by exposure to Agent Orange, a poisonous chemical used by the US Army in Vietnam. While her mother worked, Gloria took care of her father throughout her teens, until he died 14 years later, when Gloria was 23.

Fast forward to 1984 when, signed to Columbia, Miami Sound Machine got their first dance hit “Dr. Beat” followed by “Conga”, which became a worldwide hit. Their 1987 album ‘Let It Loose’, featuring ‘Rhythm Is Gonna Get You’, went multiplatinum, with three million copies sold in the US alone. But with the worldwide success of the ballads such as “Anything for You,” the appeal of Gloria as lead singer was becoming increasingly clear. Emilio decided to make his wife a superstar. And so she did, becoming the world’s first crossover Latina mega artist. The story didn’t end there. In the next decades, the Estefans would go on to discover and produce the major Latin crossover artists of the next 10 years, including Ricky Martin, Shakira, with Gloria writing many of their songs. Indeed Shakira would not exist, if it were not for the Estefans. Lucy has chosen the iconic Gloria tune Conga to fire up the festival.


Though lesser known to the mainstream, in our humble opinion, La India one of the greatest Latina singers in the world. This Nuyorican burst onto the scene in the 90s. Formerly part of the NY house music “Freestyle” movement, she got bitten by the salsa bug (don’t we all!) and recorded some of the most memorable classics of modern salsa. Unique in her ability to sing Salsa songs in English and make them sound as good as in Spanish (check out her version of ‘Turn off the Lights’), she is a true emblem of the unique voice of Nuyorican culture. She could pull it all of simply because her voice is unmatched, making her without a doubt, one of the most successful Latina singers ever.

Her duet with Marc Anthony ‘Vivir Lo Nuestro’ (one of the best Salsa hits of all time) pretty much launched the career of the then skinny Puerto Rican with a bad haircut. Marc was to become the biggest Latin artist of the 90s and Salsa’s megasuper star, but in this song, India is definitely the boss, virtually eating him alive in their classic live performance.

Marc Anthony and La India knew each other from the New York House Freestyle scene. India’s husband, legendary House producer Little Louie Vega (and nephew of Salsa’s most famous icon Hector Lavoe) was also Marc’s producer. A love version of the song was part of the seminal album La Combinacion Perfecta that made both artists international superstars. When they released Vivir Lo Nuestro in 1994 Marc looked like a geek prematurely released from the science lab, let alone worthy of singing alongside the diosa that is La India... but the astounding vocals of both is very forgiving. We can’t wait to hear Lucy sing this song with the best Cuban vocalist in town Rene Alvarez.




James Brown meets Irakere is how we describe this electrifying and high-energy Cuban funk band, fronted by Rene Alvarez. The awardwinning Santiago-born singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist was Europe’s most sought-after salsa vocalist and bandleader before living his life-long dream of combining his Afro-Cuban roots with his passion for North American funk. Having toured the world with his Salsa outfit, featured in the latest James Bond movie No Time to Die, the smooth operating salsero unleashes his punkster-funkster alter-ego into this sensational 7-piece Cuban band.

2 23



Candela Sound System brings the exciting roster of artists from the UK’s first ever record label dedicated to Urban Latin Music. A partnership between Atlantic Records UK, music distributor ADA and Latino Life media and events, Candela Records aims to discover and develop UK-Latin talent and launch it onto the global stage. It’s artists fuse London sounds with Latin-Caribbean beats, in a unique hybrid of reggaetón, grime, drill, dancehall, afrobeats, salsa, soul, funk and more.

Featuring Venezuelan Angelo Flow, London’s reggaetón poster-boy still buzzing from his latest release ‘HotSteppa’ with dancehall legend J Spades and Dutch producer Diztortion, plus gifted Tottenham-raised Ecuadorian lyricist Guala and Chilean rapper JDogg. Leading ladies of the label A Nahomy, Georgia Scott and Lisey Tigra bring their Latina flygirl style.

Accompanying on the decks…DJ Jovy

2 APRIL 25



Adrian Garcia is a Mexican singer-songwriter-producer. His music style is a mix of sounds between Latin, Pop, Funk, Rock and RnB and is an energetic entertainer on the stage. In his 15 years in London he as consolidate as one of main names within the Latin music scene in UK and has been able to work with the likes of BBC, MTV, ITV, John Legend, Coco Movie Franchise, etc. and also the opening act to the south American tour of Latin superstar Cristian Castro.



Lokandes is a band we have long wanted to invite to LatinoLife in the Park: ´Crazy´ and ´Andes´ (Crazy music from the Andes) is how they describe themselves - fusing the melodies and energy of Andean music with traditional roots and Afro-Andean rhythms with other contemporary genres such as Reggae, Cumbia, Ska, Jazz, Son, Rumba Folk and funky Latin rhythms. But the name doesn’t reveal the true wonder of the band which is the musical maestro that is Kanti Qena, whose improvising skills on the Andean pipes are the envy of jazz musicians and delight of audiences around Europe.

2 27



The rise of Reggaetón as the world’s most streamed music literally amounts to an explosion. Reggaetón is all about the party vibe and the Latino club feel and here we present London’s hottest LatinCaribbean performers from the UK’s burgeoning urban Latin scene.

We have in the house our Dominican crew whose unique musicality, swagga and swing always get the party going. OGs of the Dominican urban music scene, Faqundo Gonzalez EmCee and powerful lyricist extraordinaire teams up with much loved Dominican dembow don Tatto RD unleash their Spanish Caribbean flow. Meanwhile, fellow DR lyricist La Frecuencia, who killed it on the Viva Stage at The Lambeth Country Show recently earning him his rightful place on the main stage.

Joining them from across the shark infested waters, is Panamanian rapper R Louis Colombia’s Finest Dukus and Yvli who’ll be igniting London’s largest Latin community to show how a party is really done.



Keeping the music flowing…

DJs Jovy, Saul Maya, Flecha, Cano, Luigi Sanchez

Keeping the party going…

Presenters Jemelin Artigas, Richard Marcel and Cariana


Talentos (Colombia), Morenada Bloque Kantuta & Tinkus Puros (Bolivia), Mestizo (Mexico), Ñustas, ArtPeru & Peru Fusion (Peru), Ñukanchik (Ecuador), CofoChilex (Chile) and Eirete (Paraguay) + more TBA

After the huge success of our dance parade at The Lambeth Country Show, we invite the wonderful dance and drumming troupes, representing countries from all over Latin America, for the biggest dance explosion any park has seen! A parade of up to 300 dancers and drummers, their colourful costumes and diverse sounds pulsating through the festival, deliver a guaranteed feast for the senses!

2 31 MAY line up

It’s time to bring back the Salsa!

The Salsa community has long been lobbying for a stage of its own, where DJs play non-stop classic rhythms of the Latin Caribbean and you can dance, uninterrupted, unfettered and uncontaminated. And so we’ve answered their call!

For the first time we’ll be dedicating a whole stage to salsa, bachata and merengue with the best DJs from Cuba, Colombia and Venezuela, live percussion, animations and dance shows on stage.

Lovers of the tropical vibe will be able to enjoy our throwback to the 90s New York and Miami Latino club scene when the big orchestras of Gran Combo, Oscar D’Leon and Frankie Ruiz rocked the dancefloors. Let us take you on a journey of non-stop percussion-fuelled dancefloor classics, from the golden era of salsa when the Fania hitmakers like Hector Lavoe ruled the 70s, to Marc Anthony and the mega salsa stars of the noughties, via Grupo Niche and the romantic salsa of Colombia and Los Van Van and the funked up timba from Cuba.


Hosted by DJ Cafecito + special guests

the music… DJ Frank •
La Rosa •
and Dancing Talentos School of Dance • Los Rumberos • Latin Fun Machine + more TBA
DJ Brito • Javier
Julian The Duke


Between the stages, guests will stumble upon ‘Little Colombia’, where they’ll find Colombian delicacies - pan de bono, empanadas, papas rellenas, coffee and cholados (slush puppies) - Aguardiente and Colombian rum cocktail bars, folk dancers and free Colombian salsa lessons.



Get lost in our Brazilian corner of music and dance, with Caipirinha bar and Brazilian snacks, free Brazilian percussion workshops, Capoeira demonstrations and Amazonian face painting. In addition, you’ll be surrounded by the finest Latin American food and drink London has to offer.


Lila Downs Live Music

Grammy award winning Mexican-American singersongwriter Lila Downs brings her unforgettable live show to the Hall, for a performance across Latin American and wider popular music traditions. Lila’s compositions combine genres and rhythms as diverse as Mexican ranchers and corridos, boleros, jazz, hip-hop, cumbia and North American folk music, to create a distinctive sound that has earned her international recognition on the world stage.

Location: Barbican, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS

Every Saturday


The UK’s biggest weekly reggaeton party, bringing a new wave of Latinx clubbing to London. Fresh and welcoming with a great changing cast of DJs and 4 rooms - reggaeton, house, Brazilian and pop - plus weekly themes, great performers and the latest in cutting edge sound, lighting effects and production.

Location: Lightbox, Vauxhall, SW8 1SP

Friday 21 July Mariza Live Music

Multi award-winning Portuguese fado singer and one of the tradition’s greatest living exponents, makes her BBC Proms debut featuring favourite songs from her 20-year career as well as a glimpse of her forthcoming album.

Location: BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall

Every Sunday

The Sunday Xperience Clubbing

London’s favourite Sunday Clubnight, in the heart of London, with DJ Jose Luis playing a fiery mix of Reggaeton, RnB, AfroBeats, Baile Funk and Salsa. Classes start at 7pm with our famous FREE LATIN WARM UP EXTRAVAGANCIA! With celebrity choreographer Richard Marce!

Location: Bar Salsa, Charing Cross Road, Soho

Sunday 23 July Clube de Esquina Live Music

Expect a fusion of Brazilian folk, tropicalia, modern pop, and psychedelia through Brazil’s most game-changing record, bringing the sound of sun-lit Brazilian streets to our intimate venue.

Location: Jazz Café, 5 Parkway,London,NW1 7PG

Every Sunday SABOR Around Town/Family Friendly

Latin American food fair with a fiesta like no other, celebrating the vibrant culture and flavours of Spain & Latin America. Feast on the mouthwatering flavours of Latin cuisine. Savour classics like empanadas, arepas, paella, and churros, paired with refreshing cocktails and icy cold beers. Whether you’re a seasoned Latin music and food aficionado or a newcomer to the scene, there’s something for everyone at our weekly Latin food, music & culture event every Sunday! Kids welcome and can Expect bouncy castle and different arcade games!

Location: Vauxhall Food & Beer Garden, 6A S Lambeth Pl, SW8 1SP

Sunday 16 July

Sunday 10 September

DK’ Live Music

One of the most forceful voices within Brazilian rap, Abebe Bikila, better known as BK’, is a rapper from Rio de Janeiro who carries in his rhymes the experiences of a black body within the big cities. His verses, in addition to social criticism and conquests, also narrate another side of the ride, bringing the most naked and raw situations possible.

Location: Jazz Café, 5 Parkway, NW1 7PG

Saturday 5 August LatinoLife in the Park Music Festival

The UK’s largest Latin music festival returns for its 7th year, this time showering its Latin love over West London. ‘LatinoLife in the Park’ Goes West! The Experience you Love…in a new venue you’ll Love. The only British festival to be selected for the European ‘inclusive festival guide’, Latinolife has developed a reputation for creating unique experiences with quality and diverse artists, It’s fantastic stages showcase the best UK-born, bred and based Latin American, Spanish and Portuguese (Latin) artists expressing diverse genres, as well as exciting international guests...

Location: Walpole Park, Ealing W5 Register for Free Tickets & Early Birds

Thur 10 August

Marcos Valle Live Music

Samba & bossa to psychedelic MPB & beach boogie, Marcos Valle is one the most important musical artists in Brazil’s history. There are not many artists in any era in recorded music history that can boast a career as stylistically varied as Marcos’.

Location: EartH Hall 11-17

Stoke Newington Rd, N16 8BH

Every Saturday LATINOS DO IT BETTER Clubbing

Saturday nights at Bar Salsa have never been better. Delivering a Reggaeton party like no other, in the iconic late-night venue, excelling in food, drink, party and play. Everything you need under one roof!

Location: Bar Salsa, Charing Cross Road, Soho

14-16 September


Live Music

Grammy-winning Brazilian folk sensations Anavitória, comprising of Ana Caetano and Vitória Falcão, are among the most soughtafter contemporary groups in Brazil. Channelling the sound of legends such as Os Mutantes, Clube da Esquina, Novos Baianos, Doces Bárbaros, and Secos & Molhados, Anavitória is part of a new wave of young artists who have topped the Brazilian charts, secured a Latin Grammy Award, and garnered multiple nominations.

Location: Jazz Café, 5 Parkway, NW1 7PG


Sunday 17 September La Sonora Santanera Live Music

Widely regarded as one of the most influential Mexican music bands of all time, founders of the Mexican tropical style and tradition with hits including Perfume de gardenias, La boa, Luces de Nueva York, Escarcha, ¿Dónde estás Yolanda?, Naufragio, En tu pelo, Si supieras. Tonight the band make their UK debut, a night for the movers on EartH Hall’s storied dancefloor.

Location: EartH Hall 11-17 Stoke Newington Rd, N16 8BH


08 September

FANTASIA - London’s Biggest LGBTQI+ Reggaeton Party!


FANTASIA is the place to be for anyone who loves to twerk and have a good time as we bring together the most iconic hits from Latin America! The vibrant atmosphere and spectacular shows will make it an unforgettable experience! Whether you want all into Temptation and be shake your booty to the best Reggaeton and Brazilian Funk; Delve into Delusion and get your groove on at the Latin House room; Get lost in Lust at the play-zone; or take a break at the cocktail garden, we have something for everyone! Be happy, be queer, be yourself!

Location: Lightbox London, A, 6 South Lambeth Place, SW8 1SP. Time: 23:00 - superlate. Stay on for free for A:M After Hours (until 10am)

Wed 23 September FARRUKO

Live Music

Acclaimed multi-platinum artist and two-time Latin GRAMMY winner, Farruko is one of the most innovative exponents of the reggaeton genre. With 8 successful studio albums and multiple collaborations with international artists of different genres. In 2021, “Pepas” which landed him the #1 spot on Billboard’s Hot Dance Songs, with over 2.5 BILLION total streams

Location: Forum Kentish Town, London

Wed 15 November Sergio Mendes Live Music

See one of the most internationally successful Brazilian artists of all time – tickets selling fast!

Location: Barbican, Silk Street, E1


Reggaetón’s Romantic

Jay Wheeler has long been known in his native Puerto Rico as “reggaetón’s favourite voice”, due to his romantic lyrics, folky tone and unashamedly sensitive side. He famously got so emotional at one concert in his native town Ponce that he cried, an event that went viral and, as you can imagine, garnered him even more fans. A protégé of legendary reggaetón pioneer DJ Nelson, who signed him to his prestigious record label Flow Music, collaborations with the likes of Farruko, Dalex, Myke Towers, Miky Woodz and Alex Rose have catapulted him onto the global stage. His song La curiosidad featuring Myke Towers accumulated more than 760 million streams, and earned him a nomination at the Premios Lo Nuestro 2021 as “best new artist.” Now in the middle of his first world tour, named Emociones true to his romantic image, the new face of Reggateon took time out to talk to Carina Londoño.


Looking relaxed in the car, Jay Wheeler is on his way to a music video when he zooms into my screen. He has just come out with two surprise releases ‘Te La Dedico’ and ‘For You’, while in the middle of doing his world tour, combining both in a single video.

LatinoLife: what inspired you to release two songs in English and Spanish simultaneously, and a video for both as a single storyline?

Jay Wheeler: The English part ‘For you’ I wrote a while ago, and ‘Te La Dedico’ I wrote recently and I just had this idea of mixing the two together in one video and I really liked and went with it. For the visuals I had the Spanish part with the water vibe and then the English part with fire I liked the contrast. It really highlights almost two different worlds.

LL: How come you decided to release while on tour?

JW: Even while on tour, I haven’t stopped working on my music, composing, and even recording. I managed to finish these two tracks and decided to release them both at the same time as something to give to my fans while touring, a thank you for all the love they have given me in every city I visit, which has made a big impact on me.

LL: Would you make more music in English, and collaborate with a UK or US artist?

JW: Yeah for sure, I have a few things written and I would like to release some projects in English too. I mean to make music with another artist I have to be a fan of theirs, if I’m a fan of their music then 100% I’d happily make music with them. There’s a few but I’d love to collaborate with the Weeknd.

LL: Your known as an artist of ‘feeling’, do you think singers have an advantage over rappers in the reggaeton game?

I don’t think being a singer over rapper is an advantage, I think being diverse is an advantage, it’s what you bring to the table, that’s your advantage. You have to always remember that no one is you, and you have to have faith in believe in what you bring and develop your craft.”

LL: DJ Nelson is like a legend for us, we brought him over for our first La Bomba parties, back in the noughties which pioneered the scene here in the UK. How has DJ Nelson influenced your career ?

JW: It’s funny that you mention him because I literally just got off the phone to him. He literally jumped started my career. He reached out to me after a concert I did when I got a bit overwhelmed after hearing people singing my lyrics back to me and I just starting crying. He was at that show and we’ve worked together ever since. Apart from being someone I work with he is also my friend, and I’m very grateful to him for everything.

LL: I’m guessing that having the right guidance and the team you have around you is just as important as being talented right?

JW: Absolutely, an artist needs to focus on making music, my team, which consists of about 50 people, is what helps with everything else and I am so lucky and blessed to have each one of them. With technology changing all the time and such an important part in reaching your audience, you cannot do it all. Artists want to invest all their time and energy in their craft but someone has to be helping with Tik Tok, Instagram and then there is managing bookings for events and concerts, choosing outfits, sourcing dancers…it’s a lot of work. An artist is only as good as their team.

2 43

LL: You stand out as being a reggaetonero with manners, not a bad boy. how did you make the transition from church boy to reggaetonero?

JW: My mother use to sing in the church so naturally I did as well, but I would play the piano more than anything. To be honest it’s all by the grace of God, it is because of him I am where I am today and I able to do reggaetón. I try and stay grateful and humble and not forget where I came from and to keep mindful of that throughout my journey and to always give thanks along the way, because you will never know where you will end up.

“You have to focus on your happiness. We rob ourselves of so much time thinking about what other people think, being fearful and then we end up not doing anything.”

LL: You were producing for while, would you say that has helped you as an artist?

JW: Yeah, I really enjoy the process of producing and making the music. It helps a lot when I’m listening back to certain songs and beats and I can listen out for things that our missing or that don’t sound right. Producing 100% helps you become a better artist. it kind of goes hand in hand and I love being able to do it all. I would say I’m a perfectionist. I like to keep control over what I put out.


LL: La curiosidad has become a classic, how do you plan to beating or maintain that level of achievement?

JW: To be honest I have come to terms that that song is the biggest of my career so far. I spent a long time, trying so hard to do better than that song that I realise I was robbing myself of happiness. Now I just want to be happy, and make music that I want and like. I’m not trying to do better than that song, I’m focused on spending my time wisely and being happy.

LL: One thing that’s very admiral about you is the way you have been very open about your physical appearance, I mean that you come up with rashes sometimes and don’t try and hide it, which is incredibly positive. What’s your advice to artist with insecurities about their looks?

JW: Like I was saying before, you have to focus on your happiness. We rob ourselves of so much time thinking about what other people think, being fearful and then we end up not doing anything. I look back at when I was at school and I think of all the talent shows I never entered because I was afraid or scared to and sometimes I regret it like damn I should have just done it. So my advice would be don’t focus on anyone but yourself, you have to do what makes you happy otherwise you will spend your life looking back in regret wishing you had done so many things.

Have you ever been to London?

No I haven’t, I would love to!

Te La Dedico and For You available on all platforms now

50 46
“I try and stay grateful and humble and not forget where I came from and to always give thanks along the way, because you will never know where you will end up.”