Carnaval del Sol's beats will help Latin American soccer fans heal from World Cup disappointments

    1 of 4 2 of 4

      Sometimes, we have a tendency to take our city for granted as we moan about the high housing prices and overcrowded transit system.

      But you also have to marvel over the magnitude of low-cost or free entertainment that's available in our town now compared to 10 or 20 years ago in Vancouver.

      This weekend is one of those occasions. 

      The blockbuster Carnaval del Sol celebrates all things Latin America on Saturday and Sunday (July 7 and 8) at Concord Pacific Place on the northeast side of False Creek.

      It's easy to get there on the SkyTrain. Just hop off at Stadium-Chinatown Station, walk a block, and you'll find a breathtaking array of events and entertainment at eight stages and plazas, all for the measley price of $2.

      Que barganha, as they say in Brazil, or que ganga in all the Spanish-speaking countries south of the Rio Grande.

      Mucho gusto: the two-day Latin American festival is about to begin at Concord Pacific Place.

      It's also an ideal way for Latin Americans soccer fans to get past their disappointment over Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Costa Rica, and Panama being eliminated from the World Cup tournament.

      The fun begins on the main stage at noon with Flamenco Rosario

      That's followed by Pacifika with its Peruvian-born vocalist Silvana Kane. She sings in Spanish, French, and English, and the band has released four world-music albums, the most recent being Amor Planeta.  

      The popular Vancouver band, Sambacouver, is bringing its Brazilian sounds to the festival, appearing on the main stage around 2:45 p.m.

      It will be followed by Camaro 67's Afro-Latin funk and the Mexican dance troupe Nahualli Folklore.

      Then at 6:30 p.m. Breaking Boundaries will share their Colombian rhythms with the crowd.

      This offers Vancouverites a rare opportunity to hear Vallenato (traditional folk music from Colombia's northeastern Caribbean region), which has been declared as an intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding by UNESCO.

      Check out this short video featuring the music of Breaking Boundaries.

      Vallenato combines the minstrel tradition of Spain with the West African storytelling practice known as griots. In Vallenato, villagers and farmers hear about news from nearby areas through songs.

      The final act on the main stage is the Guatemalan- and Cuban-influenced Tanga, which will perform songs from its third album, Reencarnacion

      Tanga describes itself as a "world fusion mob" and this latest disc was inspired by a visit to Ecuador.

      Its grooving party music is full of tropical dance beats, which will no doubt have the crowd on its feet at Carnaval del Sol.

      Watch this video of a Tanga performance at the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival.

      There's also a kids plaza, art plaza stage, travel plaza stage, health and wellness workshops, and a massive beer garden.

      At a family plaza stage, there's a fashion show beginning at 4 p.m.

      Then there's that staple of Carnaval del Sol: an on-site soccer tournament.

      Of course, nobody's going to be able to capture the World Cup at the Concord Pacific Place round robin. But the winning team will take home $1,000.

      And maybe, just maybe, all this entertainment will be enough to help our Latin America friends heal their hearts over what happened to favourite soccer stars like Lionel Messi, Neymar, Luis Hernández, James Rodriguez, and Edinson Cavani in Russia.

      And if those fans are still feeling the pain on Sunday (July 8), they can always return to Concord Pacific Place for more entertainment that will include performances by the Mazacote All Stars, Samba Fusion, Locarno, Orquesta Tabasco, Carol Leony Zumba, Celina Cruz, and Zumba Vancouver.

      Te veo allí!

      Carnaval del Sol takes place at Concord Pacific Place on July 7 and 8. For more information, visit the website.