[NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 24, 2017] – Cosa Nuestra, a collective of wildly talented Latino creatives, brought their groundbreaking cultural platform to New York City this past weekend for an unforgettable night of music, cuisine and libations that left guests and participants with a renewed sense of pride and appreciation for what it means to be Latino. Building off of a name inspired by legendary musician and Fania-All-Stars salsa icon Willie Colon’s album “Cosa Nuestra”, Spanish for “Our thing,” is a collective that banded together last year with the intention of showcasing the best of all things Latino. Their goal; to combat anti-Latino narratives through the elevation of Latino music, art, and cuisine.
The 2017 rendition of their annual New York City event delivered this and more. Hundreds of guests, who were a part of an exclusive invite-only guest list, stood in a lengthy line in high-anticipation of the event outside of the Dobbin St. venue. Rooted in the history of the drum, the event was set to celebrate Afro-Latino culture.
Guests were welcomed by bomba-influenced Jazz sounds played by ÊMINA, an all female trio hailing from Puerto Rico. An assortment of complimentary vanguard cocktails mixed by Leslie Cofresi and Roberto Berdecia from La Factoria–an acclaimed cocktail bar on the island—were served throughout the night.
Nuyorican poet, MC, actor and singer Flaco Navaja took to the microphone to tell the story of the drum, starting in Africa, and ending with contemporary salsa.
“I have never experienced an energy of this scale in my life. The goal of elevating our Latino culture was more than accomplished.” Manolo Lopez, founder of the event said. “It was a night filled with emotion where we led the audience on a journey from the roots of Latino history to the present and it uplifted, and united us—i’m grateful to carry my flag and stand proud alongside all of the outstanding individuals who came and those all of those who made this event happen.”
Headlined by emerging electro-rumba group IFÉ, who gave their first-ever New York City performance after recently releasing their debut album—the night was led by the spirit of the drum, an instrument that has long stood for liberation in slave and Latino communities. Ilu Aye, a New York City based rumba group followed, and opened the floor for bomba dancers from the audience to engage in a movement-based conversation with the drum. Art Director Pedro Adorno entered the crowd alongside a group of stilt-dancers and ‘cabezudos’ or large paper mache characters to delight the crowd with a carnival inspired performance.
An illustrative menu of appetizers with a modern take on Puerto Rican classics were served as displays of masks and art moved through the crowd. Acclaimed Puerto Rican chefs including Maria Mercedes, Ibrahim Sanz, Guillermo López and Esteban Muñiz— prepared succulent offerings including alcapurrias stuffed with saffron rabbit, duck breast smoked with lareño coffee, lobster sandwichitos de mezcla, tripleta empanadas and more.
The program closed with an epic salsa jam session played by New York City’s top Latin music musicians–a group handpicked especially for this event. Producers Manolo López and Tita Garcia, and their supporting staff put together a night that could easily be deemed the top New York City Latino gathering of the year. The Cosa Nuestra Collective plans to globalize their platform moving forward. They are just getting started and have big plans for more dynamic events in the near future.