Santa Monica Festival A Global Celebration

Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca energizes crowd at a fun-filled day of eclectic music, dance and visual arts

By Ricky Ricardo
Published on LatinoLA: May 9, 2010

Santa Monica Festival A Global Celebration

It was a beautiful day in Southern California as hundreds (parents and kids) attended the 19th Annual Santa Monica Festival. This was a free, environmentally sustainable and culturally enriching festival to celebrate Mother's Day, and Mother Earth. The festival, held on Saturday, May 8th in Clover Park, was a fun-filled day with eclectic music, dance and visual arts, food, information and shopping.

A nice breeze ensured that the festival was pleasant for all. However, things began to heat up with some passionate dances, energetic exercise routines and infectious Afro-Cuban sounds. Festival attendees are fortunate to go on a journey thru dance and music each year as part of the Santa Monica Festival. This year we travelled to Africa, Colombia, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Spain.

People were wise to partake in the wonderful Caribbean food or any of the other mouth-watering cuisine set up on the site. This way one is sure to burn off the extra calories while dancing to/with the infectious sounds provided by following groups.

Clarita and Arte Flamenco Dance Theatre entertained the crowd with their colorful, exuberant and expressive dances of various regions of Spain. The group led by "La Clara" is a renowned touring dance company that performs rarely seen and reconstructed historical Spanish classical and regional folk dances and fiery, passionate Flamenco. Visit www.clarita-arteflamenco.com for more information.

The crowd got a good workout with ZUMBA, the exercise craze that is sweeping across the world. Zumba trainer Wil-son Williams led the crowd in a fast-paced 45-minute program of different routines. Zumba fuses Latin rhythms and hip-hop into easy exercise routines that are a total blast. You feel like you are at a party.

Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca is a popular, tight local group that kept the momentum up during their always crowd-pleasing set. It didn't take long to for the salsa dancers to get their groove on. The group performed a synthesis of Latin American and African musical styles that forges new links in the age old chain of the Afro-Caribbean musical tradition. The crowd was either exhausted or re-energized after the festival was over.

Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca's hour-long set consisted of material from his previous CD's Retrospectiva, Isabela, Ay Valeria!, Tata Masamba, Mambo YoYo and Sao Salvador. One or all of these CD's needs to be a part of your CD collection. Check out www.makinaloca.com to order CD's and find out when the group will be performing at a venue near you. The crowd danced throughout their set even in the absence of a dance floor. These tunes kept the crowds feet moving and their bodies in motion. "Nono Femineh," "Mama Kiyelele," "Masamba," "Boom Boom Tarara," "Guajira," "Mambo Yo Yo," "Yiri Yiri Bon," "Papa na Bana," "Afrika," and "Prima Donna."

Additional entertainment featured were SMMUSD Elementary School Youth Orchestra, Santa Monica High School Jazz Combo, A Gaelic Gathering (Traditional Irish Dance and Music), The Living Sisters (ecstatic harmony vocalist), Rising Phoenix Morris (19th Century Traditional dance and music from Cotswold region of England) John Zeretsky & students with a performance of sound, science, music and art, plus Ana Maria Alvarez and students in a performance of movement & nature and finally Ballroom Madness (a class with Danny Ponickly-teaching swing, tango and polka dances).

Please visit www.arts.santa-monica.org for more information about upcoming cultural events in the City of Santa Monica.

About Ricky Ricardo:
Free-lance photojournalist who attends festivals and cultural events in Los Angeles and across the United States.

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