Welcome to El Sueño Existe! Croeso!

Bienvenido! Festival 2017

Bienvenido!  El Sueño Existe Festival of Latin American music and politics will take place here in Machynlleth, 28, 29 and 30 July 2017. The spirit of Victor Jara in beautiful Mid Wales.

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For every festival we choose a different theme and this year we will be looking at Ecuador.  We seek to weave a tapestry of music, dance, progressive politics, poetry and drama here in the beautiful Dyfi Valley of Mid Wales. The music and life of Victor Jara of Chile is  the source of inspiration for the festival and we seek to bring the representation of Victor jara and Allende’s Chile into the here and now so that it can continue to be drawn from as a resource.

The festival takes place on the edge of the small historic  town of Machynlleth. There are beautiful mountain walks in the area  and the gorgeous coastal areas of Borth and Aberdovey are nearby.  There is camping at the festival and also various types of accommodation in and around the town. Early booking of accommodation is strongly recommended.

There will be plenty of opportunity for participation through dance, music making and discussion. Bring your voice and musical instruments.

We look forward to giving you a warm welcome.

Tony, Maggie, John,Sabrina, Pete, Clare, Carol, Cristina, Jorge, Hugo,Tim, Mogs,  Ignacio, Mike.

After the recent (April 2017) victory in Ecuador of Citizens’ Revolution Presidential candidate Lenin Moreno, read about the election outcome here:


And read our letter to congratulate Fidel Narvaez & the UK Embassy staff – who we are working with in planning the 2017 festival – and Fidel’s reply to us: click here


El Sueño Existe (‘the dream lives on’) is the banner name for Latin American events in and around Machynlleth, Mid Wales, organised by Mind Out for Music, inspired by the life and music of Chile’s Victor Jara and the New Song Movement.

 Here are 2015 Festival photos by Craig Kirkwood and by Kevin Hayes.

Artists coming to the Festival

We have a fabulous line-up of international artists for your weekend in Machynlleth. Please see information below of some artists that are coming. Keep in mind that there will be a few more.


QUIMANTU were formed by the outstanding UK based Chilean musician and composer Mauricio Venegas-Astorga and since then have gained a reputation as one of Britain’s finest South American bands.  The group has blossomed out of the very particular musical environment that exists in the UK, especially in London, an environment that has afforded Quimantu the opportunity to collaborate with leading musicians from almost every genre imaginable, from Western Classical to Indian Classical, African to traditional English Folk. The result is a powerful and inspiring musical message, a refreshing mix full of life and honesty that speaks directly to audiences’ hearts as well as their dancing feet.

006_quimantu_by_harriet_armstrongQuimantu in front of the Hackney Peace Mural. Photo by Harriet Armstrong

The performance for the festival El Sueño Existe will feature the wonderful voice of upcoming singer Laura Venegas-Rojas, whose velvet tones are rapidly making her a favourite with audiences here and in Chile.

“The talented and polished musicians hip of the band is just as impressive as their down to earth performance.” Sarah Quarmby, journalist. www.quimantu.net

ECCO (Ethnic Contemporary Classical Orchestra)

In 1998 Quimantu’s director Mauricio Venegas-Astorga and Rachel Pantin established Musiko Musika to fulfil the band’s vision for enabling and empowering children, young people, families and communities to make music and express themselves culturally. Musiko Musika’s pioneering ECCO (Ethnic Contemporary Classical Orchestra) is central to that vision and will be performing and offering workshops at El Sueño. Spread across schools and communities in London, the ECCO project incorporates the music and culture of the participants’ families, to create ensembles that reflect the contemporary aspirations and creativity of today’s young musicians. The young musicians and their parents take an active role in every step of the music-making process – from playing to songwriting and conducting.

008_musiko_musika_by_harriet_armstrongECCO concert at the Bolivar Hall in July 2016. Photo by Harriet Armstrong

Appearing at El Sueño will be the ECCO @ Lyric ensemble of around 30 children and parents from cultural backgrounds including the Philippines, Iraq, the Caribbean, Bulgaria, Sri Lanka and England, performing a characteristically diverse repertoire with an exuberance and spirit that lifts and inspires audiences. www.musikomusika.org/ecco

Society of Imaginary Friends

Described as cinematic, classical, folk  in a similar vein to the ‘supernatural calm of Antony and the Johnsons’, Society of Imaginary Friends are a ‘Glorious mix of orchestral, folk melodrama.’  Based around the mezzo-soprano voice of Louise Kleboe and accordion and keyboardist Alfie Thomas they offer ‘the kind of surreal beauty that Stanley Kubrick would of given his beard for, a remarkable experience that will leave you in goosebumps.’ Planet Sound (channel 4.)

1501283_1551981108384081_8681695608793796350_oSociety of Imaginary Friends. Photo by Maciej Wasilewski.

Society of Imaginary Friends have written and performed the music for the extraordinary Glastonbury Festival Arcadia Spectacular show which was staged every night at midnight on the huge metal spider, they had the privilege of performing at the Anti-Fracking camp in Balcombe Sussex and the Christmas Eve show at Occupy the City of London at St Paul’s. Society of Imaginary Friends recently worked with Cannes Festival Palm d’or nominated film director Chris Newby on their anti-war song and film ‘Beautiful Boy’ set just before WW1 the film is due to be released in Autumn 2017. Louise and Alfie are composers of music for film and have worked on award winning films including McLibel, Age of Stupid, Short Supply and At Dawning and they are currently writing the score for the beautiful art film Snow People.


Quijada have been playing irresistible Latin sounds since 2009. Cornwall’s answer to The Buena Vista Social Club, Quijada will be playing a variety of Afro-Cuban music, sung both in Spanish and English, from standard Cuban numbers to self-penned songs. Quijada take their name from one of their instruments; an ancient Peruvian percussion device fashioned from a donkey’s jawbone.


The band play several unusual instruments: Graham Gynn is a master of the Puerto Rican cuatro, a small ten-stringed guitar, while percussionist and group founder Peter Fox plays congas, bongo, cajon and guiro. Bass player Rob Hooper and timbalero Mark Oxenburg, have joined the group since their last visit to El Sueno Existe and they and the other regular members, Peter Fox, Graham Gynn, Adam Wheeler and Matt Spittle are frequently joined by guest musicians.

Quijada are well known for getting audiences dancing and singing at festivals and have performed for the BBC’s Music Nation – Sound of the South West in 2012, for the Tate Gallery and the National Trust.

Mask Workshop run by Tito Vega and Edita Matulionyte  

The mask with its innumerable forms and functions is one of the earliest man-created artefacts. It gives mankind the power to represent or hide its various faces; to protect, beautify, frighten or pacify. The mask is mankind’s artificial and artistic “other face”.

This mask workshop, open to people of all ages, aims to teach simple techniques of mask decoration utilising a wealth of paints, feathers, sequins, glitter, seeds, etc., allowing participants to create original and festive work. See a video on https://youtu.be/IMyNN2XkZnQ .


The workshop will enhance the self-expression and interaction skills of the participants, but it will also affect their way of perceiving the world around them making it more interesting, exciting, and magic.  See pictures and videos at: http://www.gozart.com. If you need further details, please do not hesitate to contact Tito Vega at gozartlondon@gmail.com.

Hispano-American Women Writers on Memory

We are seven women artists whose activities range from writing our own prose, poetry and songs to painting and performing in live events. We started as a literary group in 2010 and with our performances and artistic work we have gained a legitimate space in the literary world of the UK. We develop and share our creativity by facilitating writing and creative workshops, and by establishing links with kindred communities.

Picture Hispano-American Women Writers on MemoryMarijo Alba Sánchez / Maria Eugenia Bravo Calderera / Mabel Encinas –Sánchez / Consuelo Rivera-    Fuentes / Isabel Ros-Lopez / Denisse Vargas-Bolaños / Paloma Zozaya Gorostiza

Our performance for El Sueño Existe, with the use of poetry, music and prose, and other Art forms that give us wings, will explore a universal theme:

Woman and Water

Woman, like water, flows into empty nooks and crevices, spreads nourishment justly wherever there is want. The passion inside our belly is such that it generates an unstoppable force, so we can rise like hurricanes when enraged by injustice; or follow relentlessly and lovingly along the causeway we are set up on. Our voice is not that of enchanting mermaids, but of waves that won’t be silenced as long as there is a story to tell.

In a performance amalgamating poetry, music and prose, we will commemorate women’s struggle for water: from the impoverished single mother who carries her water uphill in the shanty towns, to the women everywhere, who defend rivers from the greed of multinationals and corrupt governments, sometimes at the cost of their lives. We will celebrate the power of the endlessly flowing Woman.

As part of the Festival’s program, we will run a Creative Workshop where we will all form a Mantle of Hope, a collective collage, with the words and images that arise during the session.

More information to follow, please watch this space!

Expresion Inka

Expresion Inka is a fusion of melodies, performance, rhythms, colour and Latin American traditions in London – England. We are artists: children, young people and adults who for 10 years have been finding the harmonies between art and folklore and the ways in which these are tools to talk about current social issues and inspire change.

17918097_1383856861657547_937442540_nExpresion Inka

This year, we will once again be present at the “El Sueño Existe” festival in Wales, representing our sister nation of Ecuador and Latin America through dance, music and theatre.

Adam Feinstein

Pablo Neruda’s acclaimed biographer, ADAM FEINSTEIN, will talk about the Nobel Prize-winning poet’s fascinating relationship with Ecuador – in particular, his friendship with the painter, Oswaldo Guayasamín, and the poet, Jorge Carrera Andrade.

Adam will also be introducing Pablo Larraín’s much-praised new film, Neruda, at the Magic Lantern Cinema in Tywyn on Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Adam was an adviser on this movie and has been presenting it throughout the UK, including at the Ciné Lumière and the BFI in London.

Political workshops. Confirmed speakers as at 24.04.17

Dr Francisco Dominguez is a specialist on the political economy of Latin America and is the Head of the Latin American Studies Research Group at Middlesex University in London. Dr Dominguez has published extensively on contemporary issues in Latin America including Chile’s transition from dictatorship, Cuba’s economic reform, identity and political emancipation, feminist writing and gender equality, regional integration, post neoliberal politics, US intervention, the New Song movement, right wing politics, social progress and democracy in Venezuela, and so forth. He is co-editor of Right-Wing Politics in the New Latin America (Zed Books). Dr Dominguez also gives regular expert interviews on current developments in Latin America to media such as Al Jazeera, France 24, Telesur, and Russia Today. He has also written journalistic pieces for The Guardian, The Huffington Post, the New Statesman, and Correo del Orinoco –official newspaper of Venezuela. Dr Dominguez plays an active role in the UK solidarity movement with Latin America and has a leading role in the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, Friends of Ecuador, and is National Secretary of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign.

Wendy Emmett is a member of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign National Executive.In the last twenty years many people have become increasingly aware of the environmental achievements of Cuba, and she has organised and led tours to Cuba visiting farming co-operatives, sustainable energy projects, urban horticultural schemes and farmers markets, and national parks.  In addition, as coordinator of the UK based Cuba Organic Support Group, she has been involved in arranging visits to the UK by a number of Cubans; academics, farmers, researchers and community activists who have spoken at meetings and visited projects all over the country.

Fidel Narváez is currently First Secretary at the Embassy of Ecuador in the UK.   He was previously the Consul of Ecuador in London for 3 years; Technical Secretary in Ecuador of the Inter-American Platform for Human Rights, Democracy and Development;  and  leader at the Permanent Assembly of Human Rights in Ecuador.  Fidel has a degree on International Trade from the International Relations Faculty at the University of Economics, Prague.

Guisell Morales is the Nicaraguan Ambassador to the UK. If she is called back to Nicaragua at the time of the festival, her place will be taken by her deputy, Ricardo Carioni. Guisell hopes to be with us to celebrate not only the election victory of December 2016, but also the 150th anniversary of Nicaraguan poet Ruben Dario.

Chris Williamson Chris Williamson served as Labour MP for Derby North  from 2010 until 2015, until losing his seat by 41 votes at the General Election, which is now the most marginal in England. He worked for six years as a bricklayer and then has been a social worker in Derby between 1983 and 1986 before working as a welfare rights officer. He has been vegan since the 1970s. Chris is a long standing member of the Labour Party and became a Councillor in 1991 and Leader of the Labour Group on Derby City Council.  He is a member of the League Against Cruel Sports. Chris is a firm supporter of Jeremy Corbyn and believes the Labour Party should commit to oppose further austerity, take rail franchises back into public ownership and strengthen collective bargaining arrangements. He is actively supports Labour Friends of Progressive Latin America and is involved in the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign and Friends of Ecuador. Since losing his seat he has established a free advice and advocacy service in Derby, based in his former constituency office.

Laura Knöpfel researches the impact multinational commodity corporations have on the human rights situation in the regions in which they operate. She especially looks at how victims of corporate human rights abuses in the Global South seek justice in European Courts. Laura is part of the Colombian Solidarity Campaign and the Working Group Switzerland-Colombia.

Cherilyn Elston is Programme Assistant at Justice for Colombia. JFC is a solidarity organisation set up by the British trade union movement to campaign for human rights, labour rights, peace and social justice in Colombia. Founded by the trade union movement in 2002 JFC promotes links of solidarity between British and Irish trade unions and organisations in Colombia and gives a political voice internationally to Colombian civil society.

Shaun Dey from Reel News Media. Reel News is a London based activist video collective, using film to help bring about social change. In a world where everyone is increasingly affected by austerity, climate change and war, we work with the growing number of campaigns (often ignored by mainstream media) which are not only fighting back, but winning too – not just in the UK, but across the world, including Latin America.

Pablo Navarrete is a British-Chilean journalist and documentary filmmaker. He is the founder and editor of www.alborada.net, a website covering Latin America related issues such as politics, media and culture and is co-editor of Alborada Magazine. Alborada is an independent platform for Latin America-related issues. They organise documentary screenings and talks about the region, offering perspectives rarely found in the mainstream media.    http://twitter.com/alboradanet  https://twitter.com/alboradalondon. Pablo’s first feature-length documentary ‘Inside the Revolution: A Journey Into the Heart of Venezuela’ was released in August 2009 by Alborada Films. The television version of his second documentary ‘The Colombia Connection’ was released in November 2012. He is the producer of the documentary ‘Chile’s Student Uprising, released in February 2014. Pablo was the Venezuela researcher for John Pilger’s documentary ‘The War on Democracy’ (2007). He is the co-author (with Edgardo Lander) of ‘The economic policy of the Latin American left in government: Venezuela’, published in 2007 by the Transnational Institute (TNI) in Holland and has a MPhil from Bradford university. He is a former Latin America editor for Red Pepper magazine (2005-2013). He has spoken about and covered contemporary Latin American political issues for various media outlets, including the ‘BBC’, ‘Al Jazeera English’, ‘HuffPost Live’ ‘Russia Today’, ‘The Guardian’, ‘The New Statesman’, ‘Counterpunch’ and ‘Open Democracy’ .

Nicola Peel has been working in the Ecuadorean Amazon since 2000. She journeyed from the headwaters in Ecuador down the Amazon, to investigate the impacts of the oil industry on the environment and indigenous people who live there. From this adventure the feature documentary Blood of the Amazon was produced – we will be showing the whole film during the festival. Nicola is a solutionist and speaker. Focused on environmental solutions she has coordinated numerous environmental projects worldwide. These include the Amazon Mycorenewal Project (using fungi to clean up oil spills in the Amazon), building rainwater systems for indigenous people, teaching agroforestry to stop the slash and burn of the rainforest and building from eco-bricks (empty plastic bottles filled with rubbish). Asides from numerous eco-brick walls and benches Nicola has also inspired a restaurant, health centre and school, turning rubbish into a resource and cleaning remote villages. For more information on her work see www.nicolapeel.com www.eyesofgaia.com

Ben Gregory, Bethan Ruth and Maia Jones. Mae Maia yn aelod o Gymdeithas yr Iaith ac yn aelod o ymgyrch Cymru Cuba. Mae Bethan yn Swyddog Maes i Gymdeithas yr Iaith yng Ngogledd Cymru, ac yn aelod o Gyfeillion y Ddaear. Mae Ben yn aelod o Gymdeithas yr Iaith, ac aelod o Ymgyrch Gefnogi Nicaragua Cymru ers yr 80au.

Maia Jones is a member of Cymdeithas yr Iaith (Welsh Language Society) and Cymru Cuba. Bethan Ruth is the regional officer for Cymdeithas yr Iaith in North Wales, and a member of Friends of the Earth. Ben Gregory is a member of Cymdeithas yr Iaith, and a member of the Wales Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign since its founding in the mid 80s. Ben, Bethan and Maia will be speaking in Welsh, on Solidarity and the Welsh dimension, with translation available for non Welsh speakers.


Follow these links to find accommodation in the Machynlleth Area:


Thank you to our funders

We gratefully acknowledge generous funding from Unite the UnionVictorina Press and our anonymous donors. Diolch yn fawr iawn. Muchas gracias.