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