This 5-Week Music & Arts Festival Is Striving to Be New York’s Latino SXSW

Lead Photo: Photo by Max Schiano. Courtesy of Xenia Rubinos
Photo by Max Schiano. Courtesy of Xenia Rubinos
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New York City is teeming with Latino creatives, but sometimes the walls we put up between different forms of expression can limit our visibility and influence. At least, that’s the premise that inspired musician and record label impresario Sokio, head of Ponk Records, to launch the ambitious events series New Latin Wave, which will bring Latino creatives to New York starting in October through early November.

Sokio’s mission is clear. “There’s a great community producing different forms of art, but at the same time there’s a lack of connection,” he says. “Musicians just know other musicians and the DJs are just DJing; same with visual artists. So how can we connect all these different people and try to communicate this new spirit?”

It’s a question that Sokio is actively trying to answer, and he’s leveraging his own connections in New York’s Latino cultural scene to bring together an impressive array of talent for art exhibitions, film screenings, concerts, and panels. But New Latin Wave goes beyond more traditional festival fare to incorporate gastronomy, literature, and even journalism. In November, Remezcla contributors Beverly Bryan and Richard Villegas will record a live version of their brilliant podcast Songmess. Meanwhile, an October 16 panel promises to explore innovation and tradition among young Latino chefs.

“We want to show what we do, and what we do speaks for itself,” he elaborated. “We’ll show that with how global we are, how integrated, and specifically to New York City, how part of the city we are.” And indeed, this desire to explore our shared but complex Latino identity is one of the driving motives behind the series.

With plans to eventually turn New Latin Wave into a one-stop, two-day festival resembling a “little SXSW,” this may be the beginning of an important space for a young and hungry generation of Latino artists.

To celebrate the kickoff, we asked Chilean indie pop crew Parrot Dream to curate a playlist with tracks from NYC-based artists they love. Stream the playlist via Apple Music below.

New Latin Wave kicks off Saturday, October 1 with Xenia Rubinos and Ela Minus at the Mercury Lounge. Check out the website for the full program.