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Today's Salsa CD reviews

Orquesta Tabaco y Ron – Que se sepa

Orquesta Tabaco y Ron has recently enjoyed considerable popularity.. if you attended any of the major salsa congress in the last 3-4 years it is likely that you either danced to them live or saw their CDs for sale in the local booths. It makes sense: they play very well, their music is catchy and has immediate impact and it is fairly easy to adapt to for beginner and intermediate dancers, crucial ingredients of a rapid rise in the salsa world.

If this was an old fashioned LP, rather than a CD, I would say that the 2 sides have a different flavour. The first tracks are very energetic with a regular (maybe a bit too regular) beat… these tracks are ideal for whoever identifies salsa with energy and fast tempo. Among them, my favorites are “Dos Que” and “El ritmo de los Triumfadores” Then, after the reprise son montuno “Guaira, El Son Te Llama”, the mood changes slightly, the tempo slows down a little and the flavour becomes more mambo and less pulsating.. this is where I think the band is at its best: “Sin bailar guaguanco”, “Tipico”, “Me coquetea”, “Dime que me quieres” but it may be just personal taste.

This is a group of top musicians: the brass section is spotless, the arrangements both catchy and clever and the piano player, when given the freedom, unleashes some extraordinary creative tumbaos.. I have the feeling the band could offer much more if less concerned about commercial success and fast impact, and I hope they will deliver on this. 29/3/08

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Today's Salsa DVD reviews

Johnny Vazquez - Azteca Patterns

Level: Advanced

Style: LA

Content: Turn Patterns.

General Comment: Every time I review an LA style DVD I feel the need to point out that I am not a fan of the style and that I find all its defining features just a bit too much. Johnny Vasquez is surely one of the most extraordinary representatives of the style and he really takes it to the limit. Nevertheless, despite the fact that it is not my thing, I have to say I enjoyed the DVD. Johnny is as flashy and quick as ever, but he has also developed as a dancer - much more precise, sharper and more ‘elegant’ in his exuberance. The teaching is also very well done: despite the turn patterns are advanced level, the teaching is very slow and will surely give you time to absorb all the details. Johnny teaches the male part in Spanish while his partner Jennifer Silvas provides the description of the lady’s part in English. If you are not bilingual you do not need to worry too much because I think you will be able to manage all the details for both follower and leader anyway.

The moves are mostly taken from Johnny’s old repertoire, some of which are what has make him famous; here and there you can also pick up some new ideas, but I think the value of this DVD lies mostly in the style and the energy.. perfect for those who want to dance and impress.. and Johnny is indeed very impressive.

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 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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