Trio Caliente performs at ¡Viva Cultura!
Trio Caliente performs at ¡Viva Cultura! Photo provided by Trio Caliente.

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¡Viva Cultura!

We shouldn’t have to wait for National Hispanic Heritage Month to experience a Latin American arts and culture festival—and, luckily, we don’t. For three days in July, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) hosts ¡Viva Cultura!, a kaleidoscope of classes, performances, and artesanía markets that spans the Americas. A film screening of Los Hermanos, a tale of Afro-Cuban musician brothers living parallel lives in Havana and New York, kicks off the event. And forget what you think you know about Latinx music—while mainstream faves like salsa classes are part of the festivities, the expansive program also features the bomba and plena percussion of Kadencia Orchestra and globe-inspired, folkloric fusions of Colombian dancer Carolina Hernandez, who will showcase her vision of dance, as well as two of her homeland’s African-inspired styles, salsa choke and champeta. “If someone wants to go and learn about our two coasts of Colombia, sweat a little, and understand why it is we move the way we do,” Hernandez says, come through! You can also count on Kadencia to drum into the Afro-Puerto Rican roots of their genres in between counts of originals such as “Llego Kadencia” and “Que Chevre” and Lucecita’s “Desilusión,” a love song to Borinquen. Nostalgia and joy fuse on these nights as rumba-flamenco-Latin pop group Trio Caliente perform crowd-pleasers like Gypsy Kings’ “Bailare” and “Bombaleo,” Celia Cruz classics, and originals from their final album, Fly. Don’t let these and other Latin American performances, workshops, and arts showcase fly by. The festival runs July 15-17 at the Kennedy Center’s REACH, 2700 F St. NW. Free.