La Voz Latina Hosts ‘Noche en la Habana’ Salsarengue Event with Dinner, Dancing and Music from Grammy-Nominated Classical Guitarist

3 min read

By Caitlin Doherty ’26

News Editor

On April 19, La Voz Latina (LVL), a student organization that “aims to increase the awareness of Latine culture, politics, & social issues throughout the Trinity College community,” held its annual Salsarengue event. Held outside on the quad for the first time since the pandemic, the event features food, live music, and dancing to celebrate Latine culture. “From the name, it’s supposed to be a party of Salsa, the dance, and it’s supposed to have music, food and it’s… a really vibrant event,” said LVL Co-President Valerie Casella ’25 in an interview with the Tripod. “It’s a musical celebration,” said Co-President Eddie Rodriguez ’25.   

Every year, the LVL executive board chooses a theme for this spring staple event. This year, they decided on ‘Noche en la Habana’ to highlight Cuban culture. Rodriguez emphasized the dedicated planning that was required to plan this event throughout the semester. “It’s very important to recognize that all the work we put in cannot be done on your own,” he said to the Tripod. “LVL is what it is because of our e-board.”

During the event, guests enjoyed a selection of popular Cuban dishes including ropa vieja (shredded beef), yuca with red onions, arroz congri (black beans and rice) and pastelitos de guayaba (guava and cheese pastries). “LVL has these events… for the Trinity campus to enjoy. It’s something different,” said Valerie Casella ’25. “It just brings new things to campus.”  

The event featured musical performances by José Manuel Lezcano and the Son de Brooklyn band. José Manuel Lezcano is a Cuban American classical guitarist who has been nominated for two Grammy awards. He is a Professor Emeritus of Music at Keene State College and an Artist Lecturer at the University of Southern Maine. Much of his work centers on uplifting Latine voices and musicians. “It’s great to learn about the traditionally excluded and marginalized but incredibly beautiful repertoires,” he said in an interview with the Tripod. During his performance at Salsarengue, he played a number of songs from across Latin America and explained their cultural importance. Alongside his teaching, he continues to perform across the world. “I’ll be playing a solo concert in Barcelona [in the coming months]. This will probably be my sixth or seventh concert recital that I’m doing in Barcelona,” he said.  “I’m very grateful to still be doing this.”

Following José Manuel Lezcano’s performance, attendees were invited to the dance floor by Son de Brooklyn, a New York band that “delivers the classic music of Cuba and Latin America with a modern, funky twist,” according to their website. Almost every seat at the event was abandoned as friends danced together to the salsa music, and as Son de Brooklyn announced their last song, the crowd cheered for more.  The band acquiesced and played a final song to close the night. “The idea behind it [Salsarengue] was to get people engaged with what was going on, and I think with the band in particular everyone seemed to love that,” said Rodriguez. “And that’s what we were going for.”

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