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Today's Salsa CD reviews

Henry Fiol – Fe Esperanza Y Caridad :

This music is Son, you will hear it from the band formation, from the sound, based mostly on guitar and tres, from the relaxed melodies and the paced tempo. Still, if you are used to Cuban Son, it will sound different, partly because of the songs which have a ballad feel but mostly because of Henry Fiol’s peculiar voice and unmistakable singing style: his voice is gentle, almost frail, more melodic than rhythmic, possibly more prone to tell stories than to kick you out of a chair and make you dance.

The first few times you listen to his CDs you will most likely find a sense of homogeneous continuity in the music. It is the result of using the same arrangements, similar tempo and very similar harmonies based on simple 2 or 4 chords passages, on which Henry Fiol’s melodies tell often interesting or funny stories. This is a fancy way to say that all songs sound very much alike if you miss the lyrics.

All this does not suggest much appeal for a dancer and I have to admit this music is not my cup of tea. Nevertheless, one or two of his CDs may come handy to beginners or intermediate dancers. First the rhythm is very clear, conga and clave are unmistakable and overall this music comes as close to salsa 101 as you can possibly hope. Secondly, the regular and un-intrusive pace makes it ideal for practise and I still use it occasionally myself if I need to practise some passages which require attention and I do not want to be carried away my the music. For the very same reasons this music may come handy to salsa instructors both for group and private classes.

“Ven y baila mi Son”, “La juma de ayer”, “El Guateque de Ciprian” and “Caridad” are my favourite tracks in this CD. “Oriente” is a son Montuno which you could use to practise your Cha Ch Cha, and “El Guateque de Ciprian” is probably the son most suited for beginner dancers. 18/5/08


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Today's Salsa DVD reviews

Jami Josephson - Salsa Shine Patterns Volume II

Level: Int

Style: On1, On2

Content: Footwork

General Comment: This DVD contains all the top quality features of the Silver volume and of the Open Combinations: excellent instruction, useful demonstrations, attention to all details, explanations and demonstrations on1 and on2 and precise dancing. It is sound, solid teaching, full of content and with no distractions that all DVDs should provide. Content-wise, the material is obviously more challenging than the Silver volume, as you might expect; these challenges are mainly represented by more spins for the lady, a few extra spins added for the guy and in general by the need to be quicker to execute more complex moves. Details, especially for the multiple spins and their lead, are provided with different options to highlight the difference between salsa styles; some of the moves are taken from the repertoire of established salsa instructors and are very nice. Top quality for both advanced students and instructors wishing to developed a consistent and meaningful syllabus: if you complete this DVD set and you are proficient at it, you will be able to dance at any congress with any partner. Excellent work.

Reviewed by Fabio of 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-mailexchange 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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