Milk, coffee, culture and poetry

Shane Foley
Connector Editor

The Latin American Student Association, known as LASA, sponsored a program called Café Con Leche, a celebration of Latin culture, in University Crossing’s Moloney Hall. There were many Latin performers, food, dancing, and even Latino languages spoken at the event. It was not a requirement, however, to be Latin to attend or enjoy the evening.

Moloney Hall ended up being packed to the brim that night with attendees of all different backgrounds. “The turnout was amazing. It was what we [sic] hoped for, but of course there’s always room for more,” said Lindsay Barrios, member of LASA’s executive board.

Most of the night was centered around performances by non-students and audience members alike. Two singers had begun the evening’s entertainment, after which a brief period followed where audience members were asked to perform. Several crowd members took advantage of the oportunity, including another singer, someone who demonstrated how to correctly dance Bachata, and poet Gerard Colome, who performed his new poem “Let’s Kick It.”

After the performances from the audience, an acoustic artist only introduced by the name “Jasper” took the stage. He performed an original piece, for which he actually did his own percussion while playing acoustic guitar. The song he sang was in free verse format and was performed in a very stream-of-consciousness fashion that left the crowd in awe.

After Jasper’s performance, the food area was open. LASA was able to provide many Latin foods served with actual “café con leche” (Spanish for “coffee and milk”). Some of the popular dishes there were guava with cheese and pastelitos, which are beef and cheese wrapped in an empanada-like bun. Other non-traditional dishes were served as well, like brownies and waffers.

After the dining portion of the evening, three performances remained. A poet under the name “Febo” told three poems that seemed to engross the crowd. In addition to his provoking prose was an electrifying delivery that earned him long applauses. Another poet followed who told a poem in a similar fashion and garnered a similar response.

While all of the performances were well received, perhaps none earned a larger ovation than the last one. UMass Lowell alumni, Sophia Laura, took the mic and closed the evening with two songs. The first was an original that she wrote specifically for the event; she even admitted that she did not have time to rehearse it much since it was so new. Her last song, and the last of the night, was a cover of Jason Mraz’s hit “I’m Yours,” sung in both English and Portuguese.

“Many of our performers are returners from past events as well as students from UML,” said Barrios. “They are always willing to support LASA in any way and we’re so grateful for their participation.”

While Barrios was pleased with the event, there are still things she would like to improve for the next installment.

“If there were anything we would change about Café con Leche, it would most likely be making it longer,” said Barrios. “It’s such a great event and an awesome opportunity for students to come out and show us their talent.”

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