“Manos Arriba!” (Hands up!), said the disk jockey who was mixing bachata, cumbia, merengue, salsa, techno, Latin house, and reggaeton to entertain the multiethnic fans at Central Park’s Summer Stage. The enthusiasts were in attendance for the 2011 Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC), which took place from July 6-9 in New York City. Fans were cheering in anticipation of LAMC’s two most highly-awaited performances: Dominican band Rita Indiana y los Misterios and Colombia’s biggest hip-hop group ChocQuibTown. As soon as Rita hit the stage, the crowd welcomed her with a high-pitched roar as she wasted no time starting her set with “El Blue del Ping Pong” while two male dancers wearing revealing garb swayed the crowd with their electrifying and skillful choreography. As she completed a second song—“Equeibol”—the crowd yelled “Otra, Otra, Rita!” (Encore, Rita!) between each song. For her part, Rita was determined to give as much love to her fans as they were to her. After all, the 2011 LAMC marked her band’s first tour in New York.
Closing the concert was the Colombian group ChocQuibTown (CQT—who was also featured in AQ and won a 2010 Latin Grammy award). CQT is led by singer Gloria Martínez, or “Goyo,” alongside her brother Miguel “Slow” Martínez and bandmember Carlos “Tostao” Valencia. The group opened with a Carnival-infused song while fans made sure to sing along and follow CQT’s every command. They later chanted amarillo, azul y rojo (yellow, blue and red—the colors of the Colombian flag) which caused another loud roar. While Colombian flags abounded the audience and Spanish was the dominant language, there was no denying we were in the melting pot where, in the background, vendors sold Mexican food and pizza.
See slideshow of LAMC Summer Stage. Photos courtesy of Hector De Jesus Photography.