Metro Weekly

Editor’s Pick: Batalla De Las Bandas at Hook Hall

Hook Hall will host a "high-energy show that will honor the biggest groups in Latin music," including JChris and Laura Luv.

Batalla De Las Bandas: JChris

Hook Hall in the Park View neighborhood of D.C. will host an afternoon “high-energy show that will honor the biggest groups in Latin music.”

Expect to hear hits by iconic groups ranging from Los Bukis to Menudo, Selena y Los Dinos to Aventura, Grupo Limite to Gente De Zona — whether covered and performed live by queer urban Latin artist JChris and his band or spun by DJ Pana. Latin pop recording artist Laura Luv will serve as the event’s special guest vocalist.

“This music is connected to my heritage, and I want to share it with the D.C. community,” says JChris in the official release. “As a gay Latino man, I want to reshape the narrative in Latin pop music by giving this music fresh perspective. The audience will be singing, dancing, laughing, and feeling nostalgic emotions as we honor the Latin music bands that shaped generations’ upbringings.”

Presumably, JChris will also perform his sauntering, reimagined take on the ubiquitous mid-1990s Latin pop megahit “Macarena.” After all, he launched his pop career nearly three years ago with that particular cover, released as the first single officially credited to JChris, originally just a nickname that a kid at his Beltsville high school gave Chris Urquiaga.

Batalla De Las Bandas: Laura Luv
Laura Luv

Before the pandemic, Urquiaga had been diligently, and successfully, working to make a name for himself using his given name. In 2017, a few years removed from college at the prestigious Eastman School of Music, Urquiaga was selected as a Strathmore Artist-In-Residence, a coveted, year-long mentorship post and program.

That same year Urquiaga also released his debut EP, Complete, steeped in an adult contemporary sound. By 2019, he had released a follow-up, I’m Here. He had also performed his first headlining show at Blues Alley, and he started working with the Congressional Chorus — initially as a commissioned composer, arranger, and pianist, before becoming artistic director for a short stint during the first year of the pandemic.

Since then JChris has moved to New York City. He also seems to have become even more inspired to create original music — and the kind of music that is in some way connected to and expressive of his Brazilian and Peruvian heritage as well as his gay identity — not to mention his budding drag persona, Cara Linda, borne in 2020.

His output as JChris also increasingly touches on themes of gender fluidity and queer culture, including recent singles and music videos such as “Oportunidad” and “Dime.” No doubt he’ll add those to the Hook Hall music mix.

Sunday, March 12, at 4 p.m. Hook Hall, 3400 Georgia Ave. NW. Tickets are $15 to $20 plus fees, or $75 for a table for six to eight, or $150 for a VIP Couch seating five with a complimentary bottle of booze.

Visit or call 202-629-4339.

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