Salsa in Saskatoon

June Playlist Highlights

Song

 

Artist

Category

Origin

Quisiera Quisiera (Salsa) - Archivo Digital 4.4 Juan Luis Guerra Salsa Dominican Republic
Salsa y Control Salsa Y Control - Salsa Y Control Los Hermanos Lebron Salsa Colombia
Quisiera Ser Demente Quisiera Ser Demente - Demente Charlie Cajares Salsa Colomiba
Comentario De Solar Comentario de Solar - Son Albita Salsa Cuba
La Negra Tomasa La Negra Tomasa - Una Forma Mas Vocal Sampling Salsa A capella Cuba
Bonita Bonita - Bklyn: Heavy Sounds from the County of Kings The Pimps of Joytime Salsa Funk USA
Ciego Del Amor Ciego De Amor - God's Project Aventura Bachata USA
Que Pasara Mañana ¿Qué Pasará Mañana? - El Duque de la Bachata Joan Soriano Bachata Dominican Republic
Dominicano Soy Dominicano Soy - MerengueFit Oro Solido Merengue USA
Prepárate Preparate - Super Merengue 2010 (Mambo, Merengue Urbano, Tipico) Antony Santos Merengue Dominican Republic
Después De Un Beso Después de un Beso - Haciendo Historia Havana D’Primera Son Cuba
Otro Muerde el Polvo Otro Muerde el Polvo (Another One Bites the Dust) - Los Míticos del Ritmo (Soundway Records) [feat. Quantic] Los Miticos Del Ritmo Cumbia Colombia

 

Saskatchewan Salsa and Bachata Congress

At this time last year the Latin dance community of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan was partying it up at the Mega Mambo Show and Fiesta.  The event, organized by Carmen Gonza of Danza Morena Latin Dance Academy, attracted a local crowd as well as dancers from the surrounding area.  It consisted of a small number of workshops and a few performances many of which were put on by students of the Academy; it was an intimate event that had lots of local support.  This year Carmen organized another Latin dance event in Saskatoon only this time it wasn’t just a local affair.  Carmen went all out and brought the Saskatchewan Salsa and Bachata Congress to this prairie town.  By comparison, the the Mega Mambo Show and Fiesta was held in a small 100 person capacity church hall, featured primarily local dancers and instructors and organized by a small group of dedicated volunteers.  The Saskatchewan Congress on the other hand was held at the Saskatoon Inn Conference center with the capacity for 1000 people.  There were 10 different dance schools in attendance from all over Western Canada showing off their best as well as seven incredible international dance groups.  This year’s workshops were put on by internationally renowned instructors who have taught at congresses from Europe to Asia.  The organizers were again a dedicated group of locals, however they know had the support and guidance of the most successful Salsa congress organizer in the world, Albert Torres.

I had the opportunity to attend the Congress, take some of the workshops and meet some of the amazing dancers, as well as Albert Torres himself.  For a man who travels 50 weeks of the year promoting some of the most successful and talked about Salsa congresses on the planet, Albert Torres is a very down to earth and approachable guy and very hard working.  Not only does he help promote and provide dance talent for the events he co-produces, he also attends most (if not all) of them and helps out with the selling of merchandise.  On top of that you will find him dancing the night away until the wee hours of the morning.  The man apparently does not sleep.

I also had the opportunity to speak with the main DJ for the event, Robert Arnold Rodriguez who has been working with the Albert Torres’ Salsa Congresses since the first LA congress 15 years ago.  Back then it was purely a Salsa event.  However, Rob explained that these days with the huge surge in the popularity of bachata, the congress format has changed to highlight both dance styles.

The Congress was well organized and a ton of fun: performers, dancers, spectators, and volunteers had nothing but good things to say.  Albert Torres had a lot to do with the success of the event but much credit needs to be given to Carmen Gonza.  This lady had a dream of bringing the excitment of Latin dance to the middle of farm country Canada in a big way and she did it with this Congress.  My understanding is that this will not be the last big congress we see in Saskatoon.  I (and many other people) am expecting a repeat of this awesome event next year and when it happens I highly recommend you check it out.  The price is right, the location is beautiful and the dancing is some of the best in the world.

I’ll leave you with some videos of the international performers featured at the Congress.  Unfortunately, I was only able to find one video from the congress itself; the other videos are of the same routines  but filmed at other venues.

Alien Ramirez – Cuba

Jefferson Benjumea & Adriana Avila – Colombia

Dave and Zoe – New York

Rodrigo & Selene – Mexico

Jorge Contreras & Alien Ramirez – Cuba and Dominican Republic

Questions, comments, requests? Send me an email.

Hasta la próxima

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Two Flavours of Bachata

May Playlist Highlights

Song

 

Artist

Category

Origin

Dame La Luz Dame la Luz - Arrasando Los Van Van Salsa Cuba
El Barrio El Barrio - La Sonora Libre 01 La Sonora Libre Salsa Ecuador/Spain
Anoche Soñé Contigo Anoche Soñé Contigo - Ecos del Barrio La Excelencia Salsa USA
Mambo Yo Yo Ricardo Lemvo Salsa Angola/USA
Que No Pase El Tiempo Pedrito Calvo Jr Salsa Cuba
Puerto Rico 2006 Puerto Rico 2006 - Decisión Unánime Victor Manuel Salsa USA
Que no Se Te Olvide Que No Se Te Olvide (Bachata Version) - I Love Bachata 2011 (16 Bachata Hits) Issac Delgado Bachata Cuba
Las Cosas Pequeñas Las Cosas Pequeñas - Phase II Prince Royce Bachata USA
Vocales de amor Vocales de Amor - El Duque de la Bachata Joan Soriano Bachata Dominican Republic
Dajabon Dajabon - Todo Exitos Luis Vargas Merengue Dominican Republic
Ahora Soy Yo Ahora Soy Yo (Album) - Viviendo Al Tiempo Eddy Herrera Merengue Dominican Republic
Quand tu n’es pas la Quand tu n'es pas la - Kizomba Summer 2011 Soumia Zouk France
Ay Que Rico Ay Que Rico (Oh How Good) - La Perfecta II Eddie Palmieri Cha Cha Cha USA

 

Two Flavours of Bachata

 Bachata is guitar based music from the Dominican Republic that has been around since the early 1900’s and has origins in Cuban bolero, Puerto Rican jibaro and West African and Caribbean rhythms.  Like many other Latin genres, it is made up of many sub-genres.  That being the case, for the sake of this article I am going to group bachata music of the last 20 years into two main sub-genres: classic and modern.  Classic bachata has a more traditional guitar heavy sound and features a lead, rhythm and bass guitar along with a güira and bongos.  Modern bachata on the other hand may feature the guitar but also draws on synthesized sounds and other musical styles such as hip-hop and reggaeton.  Also, modern bachata will often contain Spanish/English lyrics whereas classic bachata is sung mainly in Spanish.  These sub-genres share the same roots but can sound worlds apart.  Below I have highlighted a couple of artists and their recent work that typifies this.

Phase II by Prince Royce:  Geoffrey Royce Rojas aka Prince Royce, the 22 year old native of the Bronx, New York exploded on to the modern bachata scene with his self-titled debut album, Prince Royce, in 2010.  He is one of the poster boys of modern bachata, a group that includes such teen heartthrobs as Romeo Santos (Aventura), Toby Love and the members of Xtreme.  His first album, co-produced by Sergio George , reached number one on the US Billboard Latin Album chart.  It contained two smash hits “Stand by Me” and “Corazon Sin Cara” and sold enough copies to go double platinum.  Phase II, released in April of this year, is Prince Royce’s second offering and is starting to enjoy similar success.  Not quite as amazing as his first, it still has all the polish and is just as danceable as his debut album.  Phase II contains a collection of bachata songs that typify the modern bachata style: sexy, easy to listen to and easy to dance to.  The first single from the album, Las Cosas Pequeñas, is included in this month’s play list.

El Duque de la Bachata by Joan Soriano:  A native of the Dominican Republic, Joan Soriano was born in a rural area just outside Santo Domingo and is the 7th of 15 children.  Despite an inability to read music he is an exceptional bachata guitarist who has been lending is guitar and arranging talents to other artists since the early 1980’s.  In 2008 he began making music for himself and El Duque de la Bachata, released in 210, is his first international release.  Joan’s music would be considered progressive by traditional bachata standards but his sound is definitely classic bachata and it comes through in this album.  His steel string guitar playing is beautiful and the songs are a pleasure to listen to.  The album is not as polished as most modern bachata albums but this only adds to the music.  A documentary by the same name is also available and provides a window into Joan’s humble Dominican roots and the making of the album.

These two bachateros and their albums are literally worlds apart.  That said, both albums are fantastic in their own right and great examples of bachata music in general.  If you are a fan of bachata I highly recommend checking them out.

Questions, comments, requests? Send me an email.

Hasta la próxima

 

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