News

Hispanic Festival Moving Again

03/10/2008

Article from Evening News Online 3rd October 2008

FESTIVAL season may have faded into a dim and distant memory in most people's minds – but not within the Hispanic community. Flamenco dancers, musicians, poets and entertainers are fast preparing to bring a vibrant, summer feel to an otherwise dreary, bleak October in Edinburgh, with a three-day festival.

Held in four venues across the city this month, Edinburgh's Hispanic Festival will combine all that is authentic about the culture, with a Scottish twist.

Performers from both communities will merge their traditions in what has been described by organisers as a "unique fusion" of cultures.

Maria Conte, 42, artistic director, said: "We are always on the look out for more Scottish and Hispanic connections – perhaps we can really create something unique this time around."

Now in its third year, the festival is the brainchild of Hispanic Arts Scotland, a group run by Maria, her business partner Ana Cabrera and a committee of Hispanic enthusiasts.

The festival began in 2005, but last year, "running out of steam" through other work commitments, was put on hold. This year, there is a line-up of eclectic shows offering a diverse mix of entertainment from flamenco dancing to Latin American singing.

Maria, who has lived in Edinburgh for 20 years and is also a dance teacher, said: "Even if you know very little about the Hispanic culture, you should come down, take part and enjoy the shows."

Venues used throughout the festival – which runs from October 16 to 19 –are The Caves, on Niddrie Street, The Lot and Dancebase in the Grassmarket and the Scottish Storytelling Centre on the Royal Mile. Tipped as the ultimate event of the festival is Noche Latina! a Latin club night with Afro-Latin/Salsa-Soul band Rumba Caliente, on Friday, October 17, in The Caves.

Other shows include a Cuban cha-cha-cha dance workshop, the translation of Spanish poems into Shetlandic Scots, a Flamenco party with live guitar and singing and a performance by an 11-piece ensemble, led by Chilean composer Gala Ceron.

Maria said: "We want all the venues to feel intimate and are confident they will. It's going to be so exciting."

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