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Today's Salsa CD reviews

Oscar D’Leon - Sonero del Mundo :

5 to 10 years ago, no one would have started dancing salsa without going through Oscar D’Leon’ music; together with Celia Cruz and the Buena Vista Social Club he would have been a basic component of everyone’s salsa experience. Today he is a little bit less popular, which is a pity, but much of is music still deserves considerable respect. He has been around since ever, and his amazing voice is just as nice as it ever was. Early in his career his music would have surely be defined as ‘tropical’, later his salsa became more ‘romantic’, but not in the ‘romantic salsa’ meaning and style, simply because many of his songs tend to be romantic, in the lyrics as in the melody and feel.

Listening back to his music now, I get the feel it could be taken as perfect example of what ‘classic’ salsa is; very few surprises reach your ears, melodies are what you expect of salsa, the harmonies obvious to the extreme and the arrangements text-book like. Still, I never find it boring, simply ‘right’. Because of this lack of surprise or challenge, it is well suited to beginner dancers: clear beat, often slowish pace and an un mistakable salsa taste.

This CD is typical of Oscar D’Leon’s production during the 90s. Maybe a bit more commercial than others, maybe a bit more commercial than needed, but still a good aid for beginner and intermediate dancers. You will find slow tracks like “Mirala come se menea” and “Lastima que seas ajena”, more normal pace like “Amor no se llama”, “Mi gente” and “Que me quiten lo baila” and faster ones like “Cuando ya ne me querias” and “Orinoco” as well as two slow Cha Cha Chas, both very popular, “Traicionera” and “Volver a verte”; “Tu me olvidas” goes a little bit too far in commercial land for my tastes, but that can be forgiven.

Some 5 years ago I had the luck of seeing him live and I found his show one of the most powerful and compelling of my salsa experience. Some health problems occurred in the mean time, so I am not sure how his shows are now, but if he ever passes by your town, don’t miss him.12-12-07


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Today's Salsa DVD reviews

Eddie Torres - A bailar!

Level: N/A

Style: Pure NY

Content: Documentary.

General Comment: This is a cool documentary, which shows Eddie Torres preparing a show of one of his very early Eddie Torres Dancers' group. It takes you from Eddie's motivation for setting up the dance group, to the motivation for some of the dancers to be in the group, to some rehearsals, to the final show, live on stage with Tito Puente. Some back stage shots are really nice, like when Tito Puente visits the rehearsal studio and Eddie explains to him how the arrangement of the song is represented in the choreography. The retro look is guaranteed by the outfits of the dancers, everyday people with no official dancing background, and from some of the guys in Tito's entourage.. it may very well come out of an episode of Kojak.

Dancewise, you will see a handful of familiar faces, some choreography and a few improvised solos.. no steps to copy.. in fact the dance steps you will see appear quite unsophisticated for today's standard, but the energy.. gosh, you do not see that very often today: Stacey Lopez looks like he may explode in his solo.. and he is not the only one. A very entertaining production.

Reviewed by : Fabio from SalsaIsGood Good


 
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Salsa articles

On2? Which On2? I am writing this post to all experienced salsa dancers out there, and in particular to all salsa instructors. I have a question which hopefully will spark an e-mail exchange from which I may understand a few things which are unclear to me. In order to put this into context, first a few 'facts'.

Fact 1 . Roughly speaking, most people dance salsa either On1, or On2 Modern Mambo (NY style) or On2 Classic Mambo (Puerto Rican style also similar to Cuban contratiempo). Today Modern Mambo is used more frequently than Classic Mambo at congresses and salsa classes around the world.. more...

 
The Salsa 10 Commandments: 1)You shall not dance out of time, 2) You shall not refuse a dance to a less advanced dancer , 3) You shall respect other dancers on the dance floor more...

 
Creativity, Style and Salsa: How can I be creative in my dancing? How does SuperMario come up with his incredible moves? Did Eddie Torres invent NY style? What is style? Who creates a style? What does it mean to be creative anyway?

There are no objective answers to the above questions. They all, one way or the other, depend on subjective views on the artistic expression we call salsa, on what we like, and on what we intend by salsa in the first place. But we can still say reasonable things about the matter and make the creative process clearer and possibly easier. What follows are some thoughts of mine, mostly borrowed from my maths background. I am sure all this must have been said already within the art or humanistic literature, and if you are aware of work in this area please let me know, so that I can learn more.

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