by HENRY CHAVES ’18
La Voz Latina once again did an amazing job of hosting their 15th annual Salsarengue night this past Valentine’s Day. LVL is an organization on campus that is dedicated to raising awareness of Latino culture, politics, and social issues through programming within the Trinity community, as well as the Connecticut community. Salsarengue, being their signature event, beautifully celebrated Latino culture through music, dance, performances, food, decor, and more. Tables were covered in red and silver to encompass the theme of romance, red and white balloons flooded the scene representing love in the air, and warm candle lighting set an elegant mood for the evening.
Despite the unexpected snowstorm that hit Hartford on Salsarengue night, there was still a large audience present. The cold weather did not stop attendees from dressing to impress. Suits, ties, bowties, suspenders, blazers, dresses, and heels swept the dance floor. Not only were there a lot of Bantams on the scene, but many students from neighboring institutions attended as well. Members of Lambda Alpha Upsilon Fraternity Inc., a Latino Greek organization with chapters at Connecticut Central State University, University of New Haven, University of Connecticut and Yale, were among the attendees. They opened for the main performer by grabbing the crowd’s attention with a mixed dance number including well known Latin styles such as strolling, bachata, merengue, reggaeton and salsa. The performance was a great example of strong unity through Greek Life within Latino communities across several Connecticut campuses. These young men exemplify true dedication to both their fraternity and their Latino culture as they met outside of their respective schools in order to create and execute such a beautiful performance. The partnership between Greek Life and Latino culture has yet to reach Trinity College. However, Salsarengue this year proved that this could be an achievable necessity to build wonderful networks within and outside of individual campuses across the nation.
“La Magica del Amor” (The Magic of Love) was the title of this years Salsarengue and was also the name of the first album produced by Charlie Cruz, the main performer of the night. Cruz was born in Puerto Rico and began his musical career by singing in his father’s chorus who also produced three records. At age 22, Cruz entered the salsa industry as an upcoming star. However, Cruz did not stop there; he went on to develop several albums that expressed his Afro-Caribbean ancestry throughout Latin America. Today, Cruz divides his professional time as a salsa artist between Puerto Rico and Tampa. Thus having him visit the Northeast was an honor, and he received much gratitude from the LVL crew.
After all the countless hours that went into preparing and hosting Salsarengue, the turnout was deemed a success, as it furthered the LVL’s mission to promote the Latino culture in positive and impactful ways both on campus and in the Connecticut community. Moreover, the artist of the night thanked attendees for coming out to such a strongly culturally infused event planned by students. Salsarengue is a reminder of the multicultural roots that make up our society.