Tag Archives: London

No longer invisible: London’s Latin American community

24 May

A new report has revealed more about the Latin American community in London than ever before. The report, entitled No Longer Invisible, produced by Queen Mary College, London, revealed that the current Latin American population in London stands at 113,500. The community has grown fourfold since its total of 31,000 in 2001. Researchers interviewed 1,000 people in the capital who have roots to Latin American nations.


London’s Latin American population by country of birth (2008)

Top 4 countries of birth: (Click on graphic below for full breakdown)

Brazil: 41,380

Colombia: 15,271

Argentina: 5,224

Ecuador: 4,557

Latin American population in London by country of birth (2008)

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The best of Latin American film comes to London

15 Nov

Are you a fan of Alejandro González Iñárritu or Alfonso Cuarón? Do Gabriel García Bernal and Diego Luna make you go a bit weak at the knees? Do you relish the gritty realism of Rosario Tijeras or Amores Perros? Or perhaps you’re new to Latin American cinema, in which case a real treat awaits you. This month the London Latin American Film Festival (LLAFF) celebrates its 20th anniversary with more films on offer and more venues than ever before.

From 19th to 28th November LLAFF will showcase 40 of the latest offerings in Latin American cinema in seven venues across the capital. The festival is bigger than ever this year as its anniversary coincides with the bicentenary of Latin American Independence. Eva Tarr-Kirkhope, the director and founder of LLAFF, said: “I wanted to make this year really, really, really big and I’m so pleased we have had so many films submitted. I’m still receiving submissions now when the closing date was in July. We could potentially have an audience of up to 20,000 people in total. It is very exciting for me.”

Animated feature film Chico y Rita

Through documentaries, shorts and feature films the festival aims to tackle the most relevant and poignant themes to the Latin American people. The centrality of the family in Latin American culture is obvious across the different genres. Films such as Chico y Rita, The Crab, the Crocodile and Love in Cuba and Revolution present nostalgia for the 1960s and 1970s, partly through a love of music. The documentary Rio Breaks, presents the poverty of Rio’s favelas with a twist as two young boys enter the surfer community of Arpoador Beach in search of making the big time. Continue reading

Step into the Latin Quarter

24 Oct

From the moment you enter the bright, pillared dining room of Cuba Libre you are transported to sunnier climes. The restaurant oozes colour from every direction from the multicoloured patchwork tablecloths to the pop-art posters that resemble donations from a traveller’s Cuban scrapbook.

As I pull my coat tighter round me, fighting the October chill drifting in from Islington’s Upper Street through the restaurant’s open door, I’m surrounded by a mural of a sunny terrace with green shuttered windows. The theme continues throughout the restaurant; one window displays some washing pegged on the line, a well-to-do Cuban is painted standing in another and, of course, everywhere you turn you’re presented with Che Guevara’s silhouette staring proudly into the distance. Harder to spot in the restaurant’s décor, Fidel Castro lies tucked away in a corner represented by a papier-mâché model playing cards with his piers JFK, Khrushchev and Guevara.

Open since 1990, Cuba Libre claims to be London’s first and best Cuban restaurant. Although I cannot boast enough knowledge of Cuban cuisine to confirm this, the hoard of customers flooding out onto the restaurant’s pavement terrace on Friday and Saturday nights speaks for itself. The Havana Bar at the back of the venue hosts happy hours from 5pm to 8pm every week day and for those who start the party early, from noon to 8pm at the weekend, serving up unique cocktails such as the Khrushchev Heel, Castro Missile and Guevara Sunrise. With the offer of two cocktails for £8.50 and bottled beer at £2.70 this place beats the price of many Islington bars. Most refreshingly, Cuba Libre lacks the pretentiousness that is rife in so many of Upper Street’s more classy (and pricey) establishments. Forget a dress code or preferred clientele, this place spells fun for anyone and everyone. Continue reading

A celebration of Spanish guitar with Manuel Barrueco

21 Oct

To celebrate its 110th year, London’s Wigmore Hall has launched a new guitar series to illustrate the versatility and popularity of classical, Spanish guitar music. The series kicked off last week with a concert by Grammy and BRIT award winner, John Williams, and continues this Sunday 24th October with the Cuban guitarist Manuel Barrueco.

Barrueco has spent the last three decades touring the world and this concert will be his ninth visit to London. During his career he has played with renowned orchestras such as the London Symphony and Boston Symphony and in 2007 he was nominated for a Grammy for ‘Best Instrumental Soloist Performance’.

His appearance at Wigmore Hall is set to celebrate the Spanish roots and folkloric elements of classical guitar. Barrueco’s repertoire will showcase Hispanic composers and their works from the nineteenth century Spanish Romantic, Manuel Ponce, to the famous Argentine tango composer, Astor Piazzolla.

Particularly moving will be the Sonata for Guitar by Barrueco’s compatriot Jose Ardévol which features variations on the Cuban country dance, the guajira.  Barrueco left Cuba in 1967 when he was 14 years old and has never returned, but an admiration of his country’s musical tradition remains. In an exclusive interview with Hispanic London, Barrueco said: “I like the guajira so much. It’s in my roots because I heard it when I was a kid in Cuba. That’s given me an understanding of the music. It’s a very interesting piece.” Continue reading

Moreish Moro

16 Oct

Tucked away under the sparkling fairy lights of Exmouth Market, Moro’s warmth and liveliness offer the perfect antidote to a wet autumnal London night. And with 23 different sherries to choose from, you’ll be warmed up and ready to eat till you burst in no time.

Moro successfully marries the concepts of a modern wine bar with a bustling traditional dining room befitting its ‘neo-Spanish’ label. Stylish young professionals line up under the bar’s mirrored panel to nibble delicious tapas washed down with Rioja. At wooden tables and chairs large family groups and dating couples can choose from the varied weekly menu, always with the guarantee of some rare dishes to tempt the more adventurous. Continue reading