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Today's Salsa CD reviews

Orquesta Borinquen – Pa' Que Tu Lo Sepas

This latest album from Orquesta Borinquen, Pa' Que Tu Lo Sepas, delivers a salsa dancer’s dream from a traditional salsa band in 2018: nice music rooted in the salsa/mambo tradition with ever improving technical skills in both musicianship and sound recording. In other words, the band takes the best of what modernity can offer without compromising its music signature. The result is a variety of salsa (plus a bolero and cha-cha-cha/descarga) which both DJs and dance teachers can offer to both novices and experienced dancers alike. Novices will find themselves at ease with the clear beat and experienced dancers will tune into the brilliant, rich, but never overwhelming, arrangements. Indeed, the arrangements and their executions are impressive, providing the cherry on the cake of this album.

From a dancer’s perspective, the salsa on this CD come with a consistent sound married with diverse aftertastes: ‘romantica’ in ‘Ay Negra’ and ‘Ella Es’, salsa dura in ‘Americano Latino’, ‘Puerto Rican’ in ‘Yo Tengo una Cura‘ and ’Señor Maracas’ and even a feel of timba in ‘Carolina’. There is also a salsa in English on ‘Never Knew I Needed’. If the latter is not your taste, don’t turn the CD off, because a gem is to come. The final track of the CD is a fantastic bolero, as good as any bolero of the golden age, magnificently sung. All their music and more information can be found at www.orquestaborinquen.com

Well done Orquesta Borinquen!


Grupo Danson - Mi Musica :

This is a rich CD, which distinguishes itself from many other contemporary \cuban productions. The first thing which hit my ears has been the highly modulated voice of the male lead singer, very velvety, very colourful. I find his voice quite nicely summarises the sound and the feel often band. The CD contains timbas, cha cha chas, a ballad and a rumba but the overall unifying theme is a romantic touch in the melodies and the nicely performed arrangements. Dancers will not find the power we normally associate with timba, this is closer to Isaac Delgado than Pupi, which makes the CD good for listening as well as dancing smoothly.

Title Style Speed/Pace Our rank
Solo Para Ti Timba Medium
4*
Cancion De Verano Timba Medium
4*
Nena Timba Slow
4*
Historia Verdadera Tropical Timba Medium
4*
Seco Y GuardaoCamina Y Prende El Fogón Cha Cha Cha Slow
3*
Mi Música Timba Medium
4*
Cienfuegos Cha Cha Cha Slow
4*
Cuentame Todo Cha Cha Cha/Ballad Medium
3*
Rumba A Matanzas Rumba/Jazz Fast
3*

 


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Today's Salsa DVD reviews

SalsaCrazy - Learn to Salsa Intermediate Volume 1

Level: Intermediate

Style: On1

Length: 80 mins

Content:Footwork and Spins - Some fundamental footwork concepts, like: Double Left Turn, Double Right Turn and Hook steps all detailed, explained, and practiced.
•Patterns -cross hand hold, hammerlock, cross body lead inside turns, etc.
•Tips for Followers, and Dance Etiquette

General Comment: Impressive! There is a LOT of material in this DVD and a lot of ways to combine the elements to come up with your own moves. In fact if you learn all the moves in this video there can be no excuse not to be able to fill up a whole salsa song without repeating anything! This is the ideal video for a student who has mastered the basics and wants to gain confidence dancing with a partner. The leader, Evan is clearly himself a very confident and experienced instructor who is there to make sure you learn rather than just to show off how cool he is. His precise explanations are exactly what you need to pick up all the moves and he dances in a very elegant, gentle and understated way which makes it look so easy! Another thing which impressed me was the obvious fact that he was able to film the entire video without making a mistake so the editing is flawless without the usual distraction of an obvious retake or a mistake left in. The moves are repeated from 2 angles and at the end of each section are combined and danced with some great original music (lacking in many other videos). The instruction is given by Evan all the way through with no input from his partner. However at the end she gives tips for followers which are right on the mark and will help beginners moving into intermediate. A good buy!

Reviewed by Ally of SalsaIsGood - Recommended

General Comment: This is an excellent DVD for intermediate dancers. I wish I had had it when I was learning. I like everything about it. First, it is packed with material: more than 1 hour of moves. Second, the moves are simple but nice; they are also very short and easy to combine into longer sequences. Third, for each move you are presented several simple variations. If you learn all the content of the DVD you can easily dance 1 or 2 salsas without having to repeat a single pattern. Fourth, the moves are taught not as a sequence written in stone, but as flexible elements which you can modify and play with. All explanations are very clear and at a good pace; a lot of details are given in how to lead properly and emphasis is always put in the specifics of the hand hold in order to make the lead clear. The instructors' dancing is simple and economical, but clear and precise, they dance to teach and demonstrate, not to impress you; still there is a slight 'swing' which entertains. Watch carefully and you will pick a lot of tiny decorations, especially on the leader's side which by themselves will make your dancing gentle and elegant. At the end the female instructor will summarise very effectively what makes a good intermediate follower. If you like social salsa and you are after a product you can practise along with, while following the instructors at the same as if you were in a class, this is for you. Highly Recommended.

Reviewed by Fabio of SalsaIsGood - Recommended


 
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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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