Britain's premier celebration of Colombian culture, Colombiage, begins tonight. Into its second year now, the festival ropes in film, music, performance and art from the South American nation for a frenetic four days of enjoyment. Colombia has gradually transcended the predictable stereotypes its name attracts, and, aided by a strong Latin community in London, the country has been able to deservingly showcase its fecund talents to a wider audience. Here are some of the highlights:
Thursday: The festival opens tonight with a screening at Odeon Covent Garden of Satanas, based on the novel by Mario Mendoza, who will be in attendance for a discussion aftewards about the film's plot. The focus then shifts to a launch party at Soho Revue Bar, where an Anglo-Colombian DJ set will get you grooving and give you the perfect excuse to pull a sickie on Friday. Tickets to the Satana cost £14, including entry to the launch party, while the party alone is £5 in advance, £7 on the door. Book them via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday The aforementioned Mendoza is sticking around throughout the festival - on Saturday he'll be rolling up at the Riverside for "Las Onces" (elevens to me and you), a traditional Colombian tea-time where he'll discuss both his bestseller Satanas and latest novel The Invisible Ones. Tickets cost £6.50/£5.50 concessions.
Sunday:Lucia Pulido's Ensemble and Bomba Esteréo will light up the Riverside's Studio 2 this evening. Pulido's vocal talents, mined from her country's indigenous traditions, contrast with the eclectic mixture of styles that Bomba Esteréo specialise in. Both artists are making their UK debut. Tickets are £15/£12.50 concessions.
Image of the Colombian flag by julkastro via the Creative Commons Attribution license