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Music, art, food and wine combine for romantic Latin experience

St. Albert Latin Cultural Association celebrates Valentine's Day with a quixotic festivity

Finding that perfect gift for a loved one on Valentine’s Day can be challenging. Most of us have, at one time or another, been stumped.

Luckily, the St. Albert Latin Cultural Association (SALCA) has the answer: celebrate with an experience rather than an object. 

SALCA invites people brimming with love to attend the second annual Romantic Live Latin Music concert at the Art Gallery of St. Albert on Saturday, Feb. 18. It is billed as an evening of sensual Latin music, tapas and wine. 

“February is the month of love. What else is better than romantic music, a glass of wine and tapas?” said Jorge Varga, founder of SALCA. “Last year the people who attended were really kind and many said they would come back. They found the perfect combination of music, wine, food and art.” 

Vargas, a guitarist, pairs up with violinist Frank Bessai for a set of Mariachi music, a staple of Mexican culture. Traditionally, bands or smaller ensembles play in ballrooms, on boats along waterways, town squares, weddings, graduations and private engagements.  

Vocalist Alexa Leon, who is slated to perform a solo set, will also pair up with the Mariachi duo for a few numbers. In addition, guitar whiz Mario Mendoza teams up with his daughter Amanda for several charts. 

“Mario is an incredible guitarist-singer, and his repertoire is very unique. His specialty is compositions from Brazil. He’s very versatile. He also plays Cuban composers like Silvio Rodriguez, which is very difficult. The way he (Mendoza) plays the guitar is not easy; you have to be very skilled.” 

In a last-minute announcement, guest recording artist Cristian De La Luna will also play music from his albums. De La Luna just released Qué Pasará? on Jan. 13, 2023. The album, originally slated for release in Sept. 2022, is a travelogue of love through unforgettable childhood memories. 

As a backdrop to the evening, the art gallery showcases Tethers, an exhibition highlighting Yvonne DuBourdieu and Margaret Witschl. Tethers visually depicts movement, a swaying in winds that shift between uncertainty and hope.  

Completing the evening is Chilean red wine served alongside a variety of nibblers.  

“And for dessert there is a wonderful Chilean cake, pineapple with whipping cream and dulce de leche.” 

The festivities take place Saturday, Feb. 18 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Art Gallery of St. Albert on Perron St. Single tickets are $35 plus fees at 

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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