Latinos Unidos held its 18th annual Floricanto celebration on April 13 in the Valley Center for the Performing Arts. This year's Floricanto had a theme of Contigo Perú, with a focus on Peruvian arts, literature, and culture.
The event began with a remembrance of Chicano poet Francisco X. Alarcón, who attended and presented at three previous Floricanto celebrations, including the first Floricanto in 1998. Alarcón passed away on January 15, 2016. Two HNU students read Alarcón’s poem In Xochitl In Cuicatl in tribute to the poet.
The first performer for this year’s Floricanto was Mariella Sur con Zamalu, a band familiar with many different types of Peruvian music. The band played two spirited sets over the course of the night and entertained the crowd with playful banter.
Later, Claudio Talavera Ballón, a Peruvian-born painter, presented his work and spoke about his inspirations. José Antonio Galloso, a Peruvian-born poet, read two of his poems and spoke about his life and writing. Both Ballón and Galloso took questions and comments from the audience after their presentations.
The night concluded with a series of dance performances by Con Fuerza Perú, a dance group founded in 2015 by a group of friends who wanted to share the folk dances of Perú with the community.