The Loisaida Festival 2021 street fair goes virtual at loisaidafest.nyc on Sunday, May 23 and Sunday, May 30, 2021 at 2pm. FREE
34th Loisaida Festival 2021
The festival normally draws about 25,000 people to the Lower East Side. This year we can’t gather because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead we’ll gather virtually with the whole Loisaida diaspora.
The Festival is produced by The Loisaida Center, a community center that is part of the Acacia Network. The year’s theme is “Que Viva Loisaida!” to celebrate the neighborhood’s resilience, creativity and unity. It pays homage to Marlis Momber’s 1978 documentary “Viva Loisaida.”
The Lower East Side is gentrifying now, but check out the film to see how it used to be once upon a time in Loisaida. Chino Garcia and Bimbo Rivas (1939-1992) were Nuyorican activists. Rivas coined the name “Loisaida” in a poem of his. The festival has the feel of a small town patron saint festival (fiestas patronales) in Puerto Rico.
Technically, a lot of Loisaida is now in what’s called the East Village. It used to be part of the Lower East Side, but was rebranded above East Houston by real estate promoters.
This year’s creative lineup features a bunch of great artists who reflect who we are in Loisaida.
Fernando Allende 🇲🇽
Fernando Allende is a superstar actor and TV personality. He was a Latin American teen idol who went on to act in telenovelas. His breakout was “Flamingo Road” (1981-82), but he has also hosted talent shows including “Buscando Estrellas” (Star Search) and “Objetivo Fama” in Puerto Rico.
Allende was one of the first Latin Americans to crossover to Hollywood.
ÌFÉ, the New Orleans-based Puerto Rican band led by Otura Mun who performs Yoruba drum traditions with electronics. Yoruba drumming originates as rituals of faith. The old traditions feed into salsa, reggaeton and Latin trap.
This is our favorite band of 2020. We play “Estamos Bien” loud on the street in Puerto Rico and everybody loves it.
Linda Díaz 🗽
2020 Tiny Desk Contest winner, Linda Díaz can sing. What a beautiful voice.
This was her entry. Díaz delivers chills with the first words. We’d pay to hear more of Díaz. She is a natural, a star in the making. Wow!
Duendita is a popular R&B, soul and jazz singer from Queens. She is best known for her 2018 debut “Direct Line to My Creator.”
Batalá NYC 🇧🇷
Batalá NYC is NYC’s all-female Samba Reggae drum line. NYC actually has two all female Brazilian drum lines, the other is more samba. We are talking about serious girl power!
Chabela Rodríguez 🇵🇷
Chabela Rodríguez is a folk singer in the Puerto Rican trovadores tradition. She is from Barrio San Salvador in Caguas, Puerto Rico.
We don’t have a musicologist to back us up on this, but when we saw the Troubadour Festival in Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, we were surprised that it plays out just like a rap battle. Puerto Rican salsa legend Gilberto Santa Rosa is famous for improvisational battles with other singers on stage. It’s not rap, but it plays out the same way.
Hip-hop is from The Bronx, but there is nothing new under the sun. We suspect the rap form actually derives from the trovadores of Puerto Rico and Cuba, and before that the troubadours of southern Europe, and the griots of West Africa.
PIXOTE (João Salomão) is a graffiti artist from Rio de Janeiro who is influenced by the Brazilian Pixação graffiti tradition. You see his work all around Loisaida.
¡Que Viva Loisaida!
It’s been a hard year, and we still have a hard road ahead, but the pressure cooker is also stewing some serious creative juices. We don’t know what it is, but the next big thing is simmering somewhere in the barrios of New York City. You just might see it first at the 34th Loisaida Festival 2021.