I´m not here to make friends


Latin music and Afrobeat in the same place? A must-attend event.

On March 23, Latin x Afro Fusion Night event took place at the Red Room in downtown Vancouver. Arts and Entertainment Management students at Capilano University were tasked with the organization of the event, applying everything that they learned about event planning through their course. 

“I think these are the kind of events the city needs,” said PR Representative for the event, Amanda Mulder. The first event created by Mulder and her teammates was called All Femme Fronted, and involved bringing together local female-led bands to play music at the Red Gate Arts Society. Latin x Afro Fusion Night was the second event planned by the group, and what better way to get people dancing than with good musical rhythm?

I write this as a person who is proud to be from Latinoamerica. From the moment the music starts you can’t help but want to dance, and adding Afrobeat, there can’t be a better combo than this. Along with incredible music, the event is designed to bring people together to have a good time. For the first time, we should not agree with Sam Smith – let’s say, “I AM here to make friends.”

Afrobeat originated from the roots of Yoruba traditional music. Blended with jazz and funk, it became widely popular in the 1970s. Music of the Latin genre includes all songs in languages derived from Latin; whereas Latin American music encompasses all music originating from countries south of the United States (Latin America). The appreciation for Latin music in North America has greatly increased in recent years. According to Billboard, Latin music consumption increased by 55.26 per cent between 2020 and 2021. “[Latin music] makes me happy to bring a bit of my Latin culture and roots to Canada,” said the Executive Director of the event, Maria Perez.

I had the opportunity to chat a bit with the organizers about their experience in creating Latin x Afro Fusion Night and their goals for it. Pérez, along with Mulder, mentioned how the event became an inspiration for celebration of diversity, and an opportunity to bring a little bit of Latin and Afrobeat music to parties in Canada. “Embracing diversity is not just a celebration of our differences, but a recognition of the beauty that lies in the unique perspectives, experiences, and cultures that each individual brings to the table,” said the organizers in a statement.

The original plan was to make an event exclusively for CapU students, but after some thought, the organizers realized that it would be great to make it an open event where everyone was welcome. 

Marketing Coordinator, Jose Miguel Norena, along with the Marketing Manager, Mariana Aiello, talked about how the event was changed to facilitate an opportunity to reach out to people from other schools, international students, and anyone who wants to have an incredible time with good music and make friends. “The arts and entertainment are about bringing people together, regardless of their background, and that is exactly the intent of our event,” said Aiello.

The students also wanted to create a large-scale event in the city by “bringing people together to enjoy the arts and music,” said Norena. For Mulder, the connections that are made while organizing events are of utmost importance: “This will help us connect with other people and grow in the industry. It’s important to have experience in the field before graduation. My goal is to work in the music industry, probably managing funk metal bands.”

Pérez shares Mulder’s long-term goal, adding: “Having the experience of running an event, networking with industry professionals, and developing your skills is crucial. I would love to work with a record label or sports management in the future.”

For Norena, this will help him find his way and hopes that everything will open doors for him in the future. Aiello commented that this type of experience can prepare her for the future, “I want to find my path. I’m not exactly sure where I would like to work, but it could be something in event planning or a record label.”

The group of organizers also had a message that they wished to pass on to anyone who came to Latin x Afro Fusion Night: “If you’re reading this and you attended the event, thank you — we benefited from your presence.” 

For more information about upcoming Arts & Entertainment Management events, follow @aemlive.events on Instagram.

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