Event Preview: La Linea Festival 2023 (London; Friday, 21st April to Sunday, 7th May 2023)

In just under a month, London will once again host the electrifying beats and eclectic melodies of Latin America, the Caribbean, Spain, and Portugal as La Linea – The London Latin Music Festival makes its highly anticipated return. Get ready for a vibrant celebration of culture and music that promises to be an unforgettable experience!

This year’s festival boasts a stunning symbol of resilience and tenacity with its image of a flowering cactus, embodying the Latin music industry’s ability to bring joy and positivity to audiences worldwide, no matter the circumstances. Thanks to Como No!, London’s leading Latin sounds provider, La Linea 2023 promises to be another unforgettable event starting on Friday, the 21st of April and featuring an exceptional lineup that debuts with the exceptional Peruvian singer/songwriter, school teacher, folklorist, ethnomusicologist, and three-time Latin Grammy winner, Susana Baca. Baca, who marked her 50th year in the industry with the critically acclaimed album Palabras Urgentes, will be making a rare appearance in London at the Jazz Cafe in Camden.

On the same night, at the same venue, and also all the way from Lima, Peru, Dengue Dengue Dengue will take over the DJ-decks for late show. The duo, signed by Enchufada and On The Corner labels, explores Afro-Latin dance rhythms through their live performances, playing a mix of Latin American, tropical, and Afro-oriented dancefloor sounds, including psychedelic cumbia, dub, salsa, footwork, tribal, and techno, accompanied by striking visuals and their signature masks.

On the second night of the festival (Saturday 22nd), at Rich Mix, Grupo Luma will bring you on a journey through Chilean and South American political song. As we mark the 50th anniversary of the coup in Chile against the Salvador Allende government, Grupo Luma will perform some of the most iconic songs of Allende’s Popular Unity era and Latin America’s Nueva Canción, as well as their own compositions. You will experience contemporary arrangements of songs by Victor Jara, Violeta Parra, Atahualpa Yupanki, Inti Illimani and others, as well as original compositions that explore the experience of exile. Led by Chilean brothers Francisco and Oscar Carrasco, who came to the UK as children in 1975, this promises to be a night of powerful music and reflection.

While over at the Colour Factory, The New Regency Orchestra will be returning to La Linea after their sold-out show at last year’s festival. The 20-piece ensemble, featuring an eight-piece rhythm section and a twelve-piece horn section, brings its unique spin on the jazz and Latin sounds that developed in New York in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, along with some new material they’ll be premiering for the occasion.

On the 26th of April, SOAS Brunei Gallery will host a special show featuring Brazilian quintet Alvorada and Brazilian mandolin virtuoso Marco Ruviaro celebrating the music of Pixinguinha, one of the most important composers of choro. The genre is a fusion of European salon dances and Afro-Brazilian rhythms, and the event will aptly take place on National Choro Day.

On Thursday, the 27th of April, at the same venue, virtuoso Mexican guitarist Morgan Szymanski will perform a program of music by Latin American composers highlighting the connection between classical and traditional styles.

Again on Thursday the 27th, at the Barbican, the spotlight will be on rising star Emicida, a cultural icon in Brazil, as he takes the stage to showcase the rich legacy of black Brazilian culture. The singer-songwriter and MC from São Paulo will present the full Amar Elo theatrical experience, a “social experiment” that blends Brazilian poetry, emotional and spiritual maturity, and the power of unity through love to create a unique style that Emicida calls “Neo-samba”. In addition to his musical talents, Emicida is known for fearlessly speaking out about Afro-Brazilian identity and the social issues that affect his homeland, solidifying his status as a thought-provoking cultural figure.


On Saturday, 29th of April, Rich Mix will be filled with the soulful sounds of fado as Portuguese singer-songwriter Duarte takes the stage with his personal interpretation of the traditional style. Unlike traditional fadistas, Duarte’s unique style is relaxed and informal, taking us back to the genre’s 19th-century origins. As a psychologist, he draws inspiration from his daily work and real-life experiences, infusing his own compositions with a deep understanding of people’s struggles. Duarte’s love for fado remains unwavering, and he believes it is essential to preserve the genre’s authenticity and connection to its roots.

On Monday, the 1st of May, the much-awaited return of Jorge Drexler to London is set to take place at the Barbican, marking his first performance in the city in three years. Drexler’s expressive voice, captivating melodies, and profound lyrics first brought him international recognition in 2005 when he won an Oscar for “Al Otro Lado Del Rio,” a song he wrote for The Motorcycle Diaries. His latest release, Tinta Y Tiempo, which dropped in 2022, garnered an impressive seven Latin Grammy Awards. In the album, the Uruguayan singer-songwriter delves into the theme of love as nature’s survival mechanism, showcasing his signature wordplay and poetic perspective on the world.

On the following evening, the Jazz Cafe will host an electrifying performance by Eliane Correa, a London-based Cuban pianist leading a twelve-piece band called La Evolución fronted by award-winning vocalist Yadira Ferrer. The band, consisting of some of the best Cuban and Latin musicians from the UK and Europe, delivers a high-energy fusion of timba, rumba, and salsa. Eliane will showcase her unique sound, a blend of her Latin heritage and experience in London’s multicultural music scene.

Two days later, Rich Mix will present Alex Etchart and their band Vientos, featuring haunting sounds of South American folk fused with traditional folk songs from the British Isles and Ireland, along with electronica influences. Alex is an outspoken activist for LGBTQ+ rights, and the evening will also feature support sets from the groundbreaking Andean fusion band Sagrada Familia and Popola collective founder, Venezuelan DJ Ivicore.

La Linea Festival will culminate with an exhilarating weekend of Afro-Latin and Afro-Caribbean rhythms, featuring two exceptional events. On Friday, the 5th of May, music lovers can experience an energetic evening of Mexican and Latin sounds at AMP Studios. The talented son jarocho group Chapulines will take the stage, playing a captivating blend of traditional Mexican music fused with Caribbean and rumba grooves. DJ Sabor A Mi from Rinse FM will also join the lineup to add a unique touch to the night.

To end the festival on Sunday, 7th of May, at Village Underground, music enthusiasts can attend the London debut of the groundbreaking British-Colombian ensemble Mestizo at the Village Underground. Led by the founder of Steam Down, Ahnansé, and the founder of Mambo Negro Records, Daniel Michel, this exciting group combines Colombian traditions of currulao, cumbia, and salsa with London urban atmospheres and jazz improvisation. The gig will be a celebration of the release of the ensemble’s self-titled debut album, Mestizo, via Mais Um.


- Tickets for La Linea Festival 23 are available HERE -