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Today's Salsa CD reviews

Albita – Dicen que

In my opinion, there is no voice like Albita’s and no-one uses her voice like Albita does; basically for me it is enough to listen to her singing to feel my feet in contact with the earth and my spirit somewhere 3 meters off the ground. It follows that I like her CDs a lot and my judgement may be very much biased.

Albita never really made it in the salsa scene, except for a brief interlude after her appearance in the movie ‘Dance with me’, mostly because perceived (at times rightly so) as too commercial; this is the price to pay for an immense talent too early put in contact with the top ranks of big record companies, who decided from the start that she was Grammy material. She was nominated 4 times and eventually got one, ironically for her least interesting album.

All this is a pity because Albita, Cuban born and escaped/emigrated to the US, has been loyal to her Cuban spirit all along. Her music is made up of son, rumba, boleros, ballads, all deeply Cuban, at times performed in immaculate Cuban style, at times slightly stained by commercial touches, but always very Cuban at heart.

Her CDs usually contain only a few danceable tracks (unless you also like to dance boleros) but those few are always very well worthwhile. In this CD in particular “El Chico Chevere”, “Mirame, Rozame, Amame”, “El Son Del Tahurete”, “Dicen Que Tu Amor” are beautiful sons, some a bit fast, maybe not suitable for beginners dancers, but I have often used them for my own practises, while “Valga El Brillo De Tus Ojos”, a bit more commercial, can also be danced and enjoyed. “Hoy No Voy A Trabajar” and “Corazon Rumbero” clearly show the rumba influence, while “Hoy No Voy A Trabajar” and “Ay Mi Barrio “ are nice ballads and “Si Nos Llegamos A Amar” is a fantastic bolero. Worth a try, at least for her magnificent voice. 12-11-07

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Today's Salsa DVD reviews

Masacote Entertainment - Music Interpretation 101 for Salsa Dancers vol 1

Level: Beg-Adv

Style: Any style

Content: Pulse explanation Timing exercises, Clave Explanation, Variations of Clave, Visual Graphics (to help you understand), 5 Footwork Patterns

General Comment: If you want to learn musicality to apply it to your dancing, what more could you ask for than to be taught by someone who is both a professional dancer and a professional musician? And someone who is outstanding at both? We are talking of Joel Massicott of course, known in the salsa scene not only for his amazing performances with the Masacote dance company but also for his music exploring the edges of salsa and jazz.

This DVD is called salsa 101, but in actual fact it provides material for the novice as well as for the experienced dancer. It starts by teaching the fundamentals of music timing, what kids learn when they first study music theory and what most dancers (and teachers!) have never even heard of and that sadly is almost never taught in salsa classes. The explanation is clear and facilitated by the use of simple diagrams. Then Joel takes you along the second thing kids are usually taught in music classes: how to clap basic rhythms, from the core beat up to the more challenging root of salsa music: the clave; this is another element sorely missed in 99% of salsa classes.

From now on, the DVD increases the challenges and you will be taught to understand (via explanation and diagrams) and clap (guided by 3 musicians) both simple and more complex syncopations, the spice of Latin music. Joel then applies these syncopations to a series of footwork patterns (shines); this part is not salsa 101 anymore and will surely entertain even more advanced dancers: the shines are very nice, they involve both footwork and body work, and will test your timing since they play heavily with syncopations and they are executed to a great piece from Joel's. great music, albeit not the simplest salsa you have ever heard.

Putting all this together I can hardly imagine a single dancer who would not benefit from this DVD nor one teacher who could not bring some of these ideas to his next salsa course. As always, the highest standard delivered by the Masacote partnership.

Reviewed by Fabio of SalsaIsGood - Reccomended

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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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