Keep It Rio-real

Brazilian dancers, Cuban conga players, Puerto Rican percussionists: Fiesta Hendersonville proves that Latin culture contains multitudes.

Brazilian dancers, Cuban conga players, Puerto Rican percussionists: Fiesta Hendersonville proves that Latin culture contains multitudes.

The Spanish idiom “Tira la casa por la ventana” means to pull out all the stops. Translated literally, though, it reads: “toss the whole house out the window and into the street.” Somewhere in the language gap resides a whole lot of fun, and the street in question will be Main Street, when FIESTA Hendersonville presents a vivid landscape of Latin American music, dance, and food.

More than 20 Spanish-speaking countries will be represented, showcasing the multicultural diversity now vibrantly woven into the fabric of NC. Members of featured band UltimaNota, for instance, hail from Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico, and El Salvador — but all met in their current hometown of Charlotte.

“We wanted to create a project that mixed traditional and contemporary Latin music, singing in Spanish and English with rock undertones,” says multi-instrumentalist Tony Arreaza. “We are grateful to be in this country and have the opportunity to meet people from everywhere in the world. We would have never met or formed a such an international band in our countries of origin.”

That sentiment is shared by everyone with a stake in FIESTA Hendersonville, explains spokesperson Adriana Chavela. “Latinos love to passionately tell our stories,” she says. “And while sharing our stories, it allows us to learn even more about ourselves and how we can best weave ourselves into the communities where we live.”

She says Latinos have migrated to Hendersonville in part because it’s “a friendly yet sophisticated small town … a city where people work together on projects and support each other.”

Dance is a common motif, with performances of salsa, Zumba, mariachi music, and Mexican folk dance. There’s also a vivacious group interpreting Rio’s famed Carnival in all its style and glory.
“The Carnival in Rio is the biggest party on the planet,” says Brazilian native Andreia Walker, director and choreographer of the Brazilian Fusion Dance Company. “We bring that feeling — with the feathered headdresses and the dancing — and keep it as authentic as possible.”

Walker says that part of keeping it Rio-real is making the elaborately sexy, glittering costumes. “I have been working on mine day and night, getting ready for a performance we are doing on NBC-TV during the Olympics in Rio.”

Originally, says Chavela, the Rio Carnival was a food festival. “It was the last time to eat abundantly before the 40 days of Lent. What evolved, however, is a mass celebration of indulgences in music, dance, food, and drink — something which the Church did not have in mind.”

FIESTA Hendersonville, Sunday, September 25, 12-6pm at the Henderson County Visitor’s Center, Hendersonville.

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