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Today's Salsa CD reviews

Joe Arroyo - Fire on my mind :

I have never been a fan of Colombian salsa, not because there is anything wrong with it, but because I have been turned off by the overload of commercial cumbia-like and bugaloo-like salsa that some popular Colombian bands have brought in salsa clubs in recent years. Joe Arroyo is a perfect example that Colombian salsa has much more to offer than that and he is always been one of my favourite.

Many features set him apart not only from other Colombian artists, but from other salsa artists in general. First, his salsas are salsas, not cumbia-salsa; you will even notice some clear rumba influence; in general his music is really Caribbean and you will notice a clave feel to most of his salsa which will make them natural to dance on 2. And when he wants to play cumbia, he does so, and the outcome is also very nice.

Second, his composition skills are quite unique: many of his songs develop through several parts, rather than the usual 2-3 main themes of traditional salsa music writing. The arrangements are not outstanding, but full of nice and clear breaks, which you can enjoy interpreting in order to decorate your dance. From the music point of view, the piano playing in this CD is great, and some of the solo simply stunning.

Not all songs are salsas in this collection, “Sis si Gole” and “La Rumbera” are ‘very’ African, while the tropics come out from every note of “Las Cajas” and “Sin son ni ton”. “Noche” and “A Mi Dios Todo Le Debo” are beautiful cumbias, while “Quien lo sabe baila”, “La bollera” and “La ceiba“ are sort of merengues, though quite average ones.

Among the salsas, “Por Ti No Moriré “, “Fuego En Mi Mente”, “Carnaval” are quite slow with clear beat and I used to use them in my intermediate salsa classes; beginner and intermediate dancers will find them very good to practise with. Others, like “En Barranquilla me quedo“, “Triste lamento”, “Con gusto y gana “ and “El labriego“ have a normal pace, nice for both practise and fun.

Finally a warning.. Joe Arroyo has been around for a while and there are many compilations of his music available. This one is just one of them and there are many other just as nice. If you decide to buy more than one though, be careful, because you may end up with many of the songs you already have.. check out the song list. 29-11-07


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Today's Salsa DVD reviews

Salsa Racing - Salsa Triples

Level: Advanced

Style: Cuban, Miami

Content: Turn Patterns, 2 guys and 1 lady and 1 gauy with 2 ladies.

General Comment: Cuba has a well known tradition of creativity and ingenuity when it comes to
having fun. These salsa triples, rarely found in other salsa styles, are a good example. They consist of dancing among a group of 3 dancers (hence the name), either one man and 2 ladies (the most common version) or two men and one lady. In the first case the man leads one lady with each arm; in the second the men hold one another and lead the lady by using the free arm.

A certain level of skill is required to execute this material, so this DVD is suitable for reasonably advanced dancers. The men need to achieve isolation in their arms (a bit like a drummer) and split the brain into 2 to coordinate the 2 ladies, and the ladies need to be very precise in the movement and footwork in order to avoid collisions in the most complex moves.

 

This is a good DVD; the dancers are very good, not only at the above described skills, (the two ladies look cloned in the motion) but also at adding naturalness and flair to their demos.. the Cuban feel comes out nicely. Each move is first demonstrated, then explained and then shown again in slow motion and explanations are given both in Spanish and English, as in Salsa Racing tradition. The choice of the material is also clever, since the figure executed by one man and two ladies are ?standard? casino moves converted to this form, which makes it very interesting..

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 ane-mail (fabio@salsaisgood.com)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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