Underneath the railway arches between Brixton and Camberwell, South London is an unlikely context for a Peruvian festival. Nevertheless, last evening's event was a magical, if somwhat chilly journey to the coastal regions of Perú, where passions are hot and the music and dance genre is decidedly lively.
Although here in the UK we are increasingly celerbrating Halloween, a large number of Peruvians enjoy Día de la Cancíon Criolla with its combination of African, Spanish and Andean influences.
The tradition dates to 1944 when the Peruvian government announce that it would hold a special celebration of Criolla music and dance. Generally, in Perú this refers to the culture of the costal regions and in particular Lima.
The venue, Inca Arch, is very atmospheric, with arched walls of victorian brickwork merging with icons from the Inca and other historic periods. The evening's entertainment included a rich mix of a musical trio, exciting dancers, a latino disco and 'comida tipica'. The participants, nearly exclusively Peruvian all spoke in Spanish so it felt natural to practise my speaking and listening among this warm and friendly group.
There was another more serious objective of the evening, to raise funds for the Peruap Project so we heard from its organisers and a senior Peruvian embassy official.
Unfortunately, I had to leave early but the party was set to go on into 'la madrugada'
There are some additional photos here