Cover Me in Latin

November Playlist






No Woman, No Cry

No Woman No Cry (Salsa Version) - Lovely Reprises by K'lid

 Merengada Salsa England
Unchained Melody Unchained Melody - Salsa - Unchained Melody - Salsa - Single  Germán Silva Salsa Australia
Jugando Super Mario Bros Jugando Super Mario Bros - Me Lo Gané  Calle Real Salsa Swedan
La Pantera Mambo La Pantera Mambo - La-33  LA 33 Salsa Colombia
You Rock My World  Berna Jam Salsa USA/Cuba
Hello Hello (Album Version) - Hello (Album Version) - Single  Berto La Voz Bachata Puerto Rico
Hoy Lo Que Quiero Eres Tu Hoy Lo Que Quiero Eres Tu - I Love Bachata 2012 (14 Bachata Hits) Grupo Rush Bachata Puerto Rico
Stand By Me Stand by Me - Prince Royce  Prince Royce Bachata USA
Una Vaina Loca Una Vaina Loca (feat. El Potro) - La Musica del Futuro Reloaded (The Chosen Few Edition) Fuego Merengue Dominican Rep/Jamaica
Clocks Clocks - Rhythms del Mundo Cuba  Coldplay Cha-Cha-Cha England
Sweet Dreams Sweet Dreams - Around the World Señor Coconut Cha-Cha-Cha Germany
No Pares Hasta Tener lo Suficiente No Pares Hasta Tener lo Suficiente (Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough) - Los Míticos del Ritmo (Soundway Records) [feat. Quantic]  Los Miticos Del Ritmo Cumbia Colombia
Dominicana Dominicana - El Abayarde  Tego Calderon Reggaeton Puerto Rico


Cover Me in Latin

Latin or tropical music is a large super genre that includes a range of sub genres like salsa, bachata and merengue.  It is a genre of music that continues to increase in popularity as Latin artists get more and more international exposure.  That said, Latin music can be as foreign sounding to a non-Latino as the Spanish language itself.  The fact is that people new to Latin music and especially those that have been introduced to it through Latin dance may find the music a bit inaccessible.  The rhythms are foreign, the language is foreign, the dance is foreign and all this can make the music unfamiliar and possibly overwhelming.  This is where Latin covers of non-Latin songs find a very receptive audience.  When a dancer enjoys the original version of a song they are likely to also like the cover version and be more comfortable dancing to it; they likely know the lyrics, they are familiar with the melody and are aware of where the “highs” and “lows” in the music occur.  In this month’s blog post I have included a handful of Latin covers will a little bit of background on the original versions of the songs.


As the popularity of bachata continues to increase so does the number of bachata covers.  Bachata covers of “romantic” songs are especially common.  This is probably because bachata is traditionally a very emotionally charged music and it also helps that the associated dance is or can be very sensual in nature.

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  • Hello:  The original version of this song by the same title was recorded by Lionel Richie in the early 80’s.  It’s a soft-rock classic that reached number 1 on the billboards in many English speaking countries.
  • Stand by Me: Originally performed by Ben e King, this R & B classic was released in 1961 and became a number one hit in the USA and UK.
  • Hoy Lo Que Quiero Eres Tu: A cover of an Enrique Iglesias song known by the ‘clean’ name “Tonight (I’m Loving You)”.  It was a number one single in the USA and also in Spain.
[/list] Merengue

Of all Latin genres merengue is probably the one most commonly used to cover non-Latin music.  Its simple 2/4 rhythm makes it easy to mix with other musical styles, maybe too easy.  Many mainstream pop songs have merengue versions (“Gangnam Style” anyone?), which more often than not are much worse than the original.  I was hard-pressed to find many merengue covers that sounded better or at least as good as the non-merengue originals.

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  •  Una Vaina Loca:  The original of this song, released in 2010,  is Hold Ya by Jamaican reggae artist Gyptian.  There are several remixes of it with this merengue version by Fuego (Miguel Duran Jr) being one of the most well known.
[/list] Cha-Cha-Cha

For the most part, the cha-cha-cha (or simply cha-cha) covers I have come across are pretty good. This may be because I do not come across many of them or because it is very easy to do a cha-cha cover badly (case in point “Call Me Maybe”). The market for good cha-cha music is unfortunately small.  However, the market for bad cha-cha covers is thankfully much smaller.
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  • Clocks: The original and the cha-cha cover are both by the English band Coldplay.  The cha-cha version was recorded for the Rhythms Del Mundo album, which contains a large selection of western songs done in a variety of Latin styles.  As a side note, the album was originally made to raise money for Artists’ Project Earth, a climate change awareness and disaster relief charity
  • Sweet Dreams: This euro-pop song was first recorded by the English group the Eurythmics in 1983.  Probably their most famous song, it made it up to number 3 on UK music charts and number 15 on US charts.  The artist that does the Cha-Cha cover, Señor Coconut, has done a bunch of other Latin covers of westerns songs.  This is probably one of his better ones.
[/list]  Cumbia 

As incredibly popular as cumbia is I have only come across a handful of cumbia covers.  This may have to do with the fact that the market for cumbia in North America is relatively small.  Also, a true cumbia needs accordion and most western songs just sound wrong when done with an accordion.

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  • No Pares Hasta Tener lo Suficiente: The original version of this song is Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”.  This disco/funk track was released back in 1979 and like many of Michaels early singles, was a number one hit worldwide.  The cumbia version is without vocals, which is probably a good thing, and was released in 2012 by the fantastic modern cumbia band, Los Miticos Del Ritmo,  based in Bogota, Colombia.
[/list] Reggaeton 

Reggaeton has its roots in sampling other musical styles (see Reggaeton – The Beginnings) so it’s not hard to find a reggaeton song that at the very least samples another song.
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  • Dominicana: This song by Tego Calderon though not exactly a cover, draws heavily from the El Gran Combo salsa classic “Ojos Chinos”.   It may not as dancable as the original but it is still a pretty decent reggaeton song.
[/list] Salsa

Considering its international popularity it is no surprise that there are a fair number of salsa covers.  Add to this the fact that salsa dancing is very popular in countries where people don’t traditionally speak Spanish and you end up with a receptive audience for salsa covers of popular (often western) songs.

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  • No Woman, No Cry: originally by Bob Marley this reggae classic was released in 1974.  Merengada the English band that did this salsa cover is only one of many to do a version of the song.  From Nina Simone to NOFX the song has been a popular choice by artists looking to benefit for Bob Marley’s popularity.
  • Unchained Melody: The most well-known version of this song is the one by the Righteous Brothers released in 1965.  However, the song was originally written and recorded in 1955. Unchained Melody is apparently one of the most covered English songs of all time with this salsa version being one of the more recent covers, recorded in 2011.
  • Jugando Super Mario Bros: Not a cover of a another song per se but it is inspired by and draws sound effects and melodies from the hugely popular Nintendo game Super Mario Brothers.  It is a pretty good salsa too considering it is based on the music of an 8 bit video game and for anyone who grew up in the 80’s it is also a bit nostalgia trip to listen to.
  • La Pantera Mambo: The inspiration for this song comes from Harry Mancini’s Oscar nominated “Pink Panther Theme”, which unsurprisingly was the theme song for the Pink Panther movie series.  The original version is an easily recognizable saxophone driven instrumental composition.  True to its name, La Pantera Mambo is a much faster and jazzier version with the addition of lyrics.  The song lends itself surprisingly well to salsa.
  • You Rock My World: Another Michael Jackson classic, the salsa version of the song is a remix by the Cuban DJ Berna Jam.  The vocals are all Michael with Berna Jam adding the salsa instrumentation.  It’s a fantastic cover, one of my favourites (the timba piano is awesome) though I suspect it was not condoned by MJ or his estate as I have not seen it available for purchase or download anywhere.
[/list] That’s it for this month.  Questions, comments, requests?  Send me an email

Hasta la próxima



Timba From Peru

March Playlist Highlights






La Comision La Comision - Top 40 Cuban 2012 - Classic Cuba Chilled Bar Grooves El Muso y Su Gran Sonora Salsa Cuba
La Habana En Guanabacoa La Habana En Guanabacoa - Beginner's Guide To Timba Dan Den Salsa Cuba
Intro del Mayimbe Intro del Mayimbe - De La Habana a Peru Mayimbe Salsa Cuba
Si Tu No Vienes No Ba Si Tu No Vienes No Bailas - Edwin y Su Son Edwin Bonilla Salsa USA
Adicto a Tu Piel Adicto a Tu Piel (Salsa Version) - Independence Day Frankie Negron Salsa Puerto Rico
Acangana Acangana - El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico - 20 Aniversario (1962-1982 Historia Musical) El Gran Combo Salsa Puerto Rico
Olvidame Y Pega La Vuelta Olvidame y Pega la Vuelta - Amor de Tres Luna Llena Bachata Puerto Rico
Hello Hello (Album Version) - Hello (Album Version) - Single Berto La Voz Bachata Puerto Rico
Tu Sonrisa Tu Sonrisa - Suavemente Elvis Crespo Merengue Dominican Republic
Solo Quiero Amarte Solo Quiero Amarte (Feat. Pipe Calderon) - Solo Quiero Amarte (Feat. Pipe Calderon) - Single Vela Ft. Pipe Calderon Merengue Electronico Colombia
Puerto Padre Puerto Padre - Salsa World Series Volume 4 La Gua Gua Big Band Cha Cha Cha France


Who is Mayimbe

 I was recently in  California with the Salsaddiction Rueda Team for the San Francisco Salsa Festival.   It’s the largest Cuban Salsa festival in North America drawing  instructors, dancers and musicians from all parts of the globe.   The dancing and dance instruction at the event was incredible and the music even more so.  Timbalive and Manolin el Medico de la Salsa performed live as did some local musicians.  These bands were excellent but there was another  group that really caught my attention and it apparently caught the attention of other dancers and Djs.   Their music was playing in workshops, during the main dances and at the after parties.  The name of the band is Mayimbe.

Based in Lima, Peru and established in 2010 Mayimbe is an amazing  15 member Timba band led by 29 year old pianist and composer Barbaro (Barbarito) Fine Fortes from Havana, Cuba.  Before starting Mayimbe, Barbaro had been a pianist for a variety of Cuban groups including Charanga Forever, Salsa Mayor and Alain Daniel.   Besides Barbaro there are a few other Cuban musicians in the band.  However, many of the band members are Peruvian.  Apparently, Cuban music is very popular in Peru and Mayimbe has quickly become one of the most popular Timba bands in the country.

The group released its first album in 2011 entitled De Habana a Peru.  I have included one of their tracks in this month’s play list (Intro Del Mayimbe).  It  you like it I recommend checking out the entire album available on iTunes.  It is delicious.


Latin Music and Dance in Edmonton This Month

March is a happening month for Latin entertainment in Edmonton.  Besides the standard dance parties and socials that can be found every week there are some big names coming to town from the music and dance community.

  • March 2: Los Ex – Adolescentes Orquesta will be in town at the Sultan Banquet Hall (9248 34A ave).  The original Los Adolescentes was a Venezuelan salsa group made up of young Venezuelans.  The group was hugely popular in the 90s with hits like Hoy Aprendi and Arrepentida.  Ex-Adolecentes is made up of the singers from the original group and is backed by Orquesta Tropicana from Vancouver.  More details are available at
  • March 22: Pitbull, aka Armando Christian Pérez, will be performing at Rexall as part of his PlanetPit World Tour.  Pitbull is a Cuban – America (he was born in the US to Cuban parents) artist who has taken the world by storm in the last couple of years.   His popularity and talent has allowed him to collaborate with an impressive number of artists including Marc Anthony (Rain Over Me),  Shakira (Rabiosa), and T-Pain and Sean Paul (Shake Senora).   I would describe his music as Latin pop with many songs sung in English, Spanish or both and despite the fact that most of his music is not the best for partner dancing you will occasionally hear his songs at OTR.  Tickets for the concert are available through TicketMaster.
  •  March 30-April 1: Duane Wrenn of Energetic Soul will be in Edmonton teaching some amazing salsa workshops.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to take one of Duane’s classes  I highly recommend you check him out.   He is fantastic salsa dancer but more importantly an excellent instructor and year after year Duane has been one of the most popular instructors at the San Francisco Salsa Festival.   He has taught Salsa all over North America and internationally and his unique  Soul-Sa teaching style is suitable for all ability levels.   Details about his Edmonton workshops will be available on the Salsaddiction website in the next week or two.  He will also be at the Salsaddiction Social on March 31.

Questions, comments requests?  Send me an email.

Hasta la próxima



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