As we await the first signs of spring, it feels as though we need something to give brightness a push. Enter La Linea, otherwise known as the London Latin Music Festival, which brings a much-needed splash of colour to town this April with a series of wild and provocative Latin shows.
The festival started in 2001. Last year saw shows from the likes of Cuban band Havana D’Primera and Spanish/Guinean singer Concha Buika. This year's headliners are now finalised, and the line-up is stronger than ever.
The festival opens with Brazilian star Karol Conka, who mashes up hip hop, favela funk and Afro-Brazilian beats into a truly original sound. One of the very few female Brazilian hip hop artists to break out of the underground, Karol Conka has found herself winning awards, championed by VICE magazine and even providing music for the most recent iteration of the FIFA video game series. She plays Concrete on Shoreditch High Street on Thursday 3 April, and you can check out her hit Boa Noite below.
“The man who makes Tango seriously cool!” declared the Independent of Melingo, the Argentinian singer who plays the Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room on Sunday 6 April. His show will serve as the launchpad for his new album 'Linyera'. The performance will flaunt his trademark off-beat love-songs-with-a-story, often sad and often funny, frequently bizarre but never, ever dull.
One of the more well-known acts on the festival line-up is Robert Fonseca, Buena Vista Social Club luminary and purveyor of sensuous Cuban jazz. He's paired, at KOKO on Tuesday 8 April, with London-based multi-instumentalists Family Atlantica. Though Fonseca is admittedly the bigger star, we're biased, so here's a splash of Family Atlantica to persuade you to attend this majestic show.
Elsewhere on the festival bill is Guatemalan soul star Gaby Moreno (at Rich Mix on Friday 4 April), an Afrobeat-Cuban-Bangladeshi night featuring Dele Sosimi (also Rich Mix, Thursday 10 April), and a host of others. The festival runs until 2 May, and tickets are most easily obtained via the full line-up at the La Linea website. If enough people agree to attend at least one show, event organisers promise that this winter will eventually end, or your money back*.
*OK so that might be more down to geophysics, but go anyway.
Image of Karol Conka from Wikimedia Commons.