Hey DJ, Play me a ZouKizomba!

April Playlist Highlights

Song

iTunes

Artist

Category

Origin

La Moda Cubana Angel Yos Timba Cuba
Adios Que Te Vaya Bien Trombograna Salsa Spain
Tiempo Pa Matar Willie Colón Salsa USA
Te Perdiste Mi Amor Thalía Ft Prince Royce Bachata USA
A Donde Va el Amor? Daniel Santacruz Bachata USA
Tu y Yo Los Matatanes Merengue USA
Zouk La Se Sel Medikaman Nou Ni Kassav Zouk Béton French Antillies
Flamme Slaï Zouk-Love France
Avec toi Marysa Zouk-Love Cape Verde
E No Easy P-Square Semba (Modern) Nigeria
Baila Morena Danny L Kizomba Angola
Não Me Tocas Anselmo Ralph Kizomba Angola

 

ZouKizomba?

There is a bit (or a lot) of confusion out there in regards to what is kizomba and what is zouk. Are these really the same music known by different names or are there genuine differences between the two? It’s a fair question especially if you are new to either genre. To add to the confusion, the names kizomba and zouk are sometimes used interchangeably to describe the same song. The fact of the matter is that kizomba and zouk are different musical genres with very different origins. However, the modern/popular versions of these genres, especially in Europe and North America, have a tendency to sound the very similar. So what is the difference?

Zouk is considered to be of French Antilles origin, specifically the islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique and is a musical style that is often sung in French Creole and draws heavily from Antilles cadence-calypso as well as other rhythms from within the region. That said, the first zouk music was not created in the French Antilles but in Paris in the late 70’s by band made up of Guadeloupe and Martinique musicians. The band was called Kassav and they are attributed with creating a fast tempo carnal style of music which came to be known as zouk or zouk-béton. One of the bands original zouk-béton hits “zouk-la se sel medikaman nou ni” is included in this month’s playlist. This early zouk become popular in many French speaking countries but sounds very little like modern zouk. Over time the genre has been influenced by such musical styles as haitian compas and North American R & B and has taken on a new sensual feel. This modern style of zouk is sometimes referred to as zouk-love or zouk-R&B. It is this style that has really brought international popularity to zouk music in recent years.

Kizomba on the other hand, has its origins in Angola and was originally based on Angolan semba and kilapanda music. It is predominately sung in Portuguese although some songs are sung in Kimbundu. Much like zouk, kizomba music appeared in the early 80’s, was up tempo, and sounded different from it’s current day form. Over time kizomba has evolved and appears to have been influenced by zouk music to become what it is today. Some people will also argue that as the international popularity of both genres has grown zouk and kizomba have influenced each other. Regardless, it’s this cross influence that has resulted in two musical styles with quite different origins evolving to sound very similar. That said, there seems to have been an odd connection between zouk and kizomba for a long time. The words themselves has similar meaning. In Antilles creole ‘zouk’ means party and in Kimbundu (a language from Angola) a party is known as a ‘kizombada’.

I suspect the confusion between the two genres will continue for some time and you will continue to find that what one person considers to be zouk someone else will consider to be kizomba. Adding to this confusion are the ongoing debates about the origins and merits of the dances associated with each musical style. Suffice to say that modern zouk and kizomba sound very similar and are often confused. If you need a quick and dirty way to distinguish between the two, find out what language a song is sung in. If the language is French Creole or French the music is probably zouk, if it’s Portuguese or Kimbundu it is probably kizomba. If the language is English or Spanish (see Baila Morena in this months play list) my suggestion is to find the song on a compilation album. If you’re lucky, the song will appear on either on a zouk or a kizomba compilation. If you’re not so lucky it will appear in both.

That’s it for this month. Questions, comments, requests?Send me an email and mark your calendars, Salsaddiction is have a Salsa and Bachata (and zoukizomba) dance party Saturday April 20th. Tickets are available here.

Hasta la próxima

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The Greatest Salsa Label Ever

July Playlist Highlights

Song

Artist

Category

Origin

Mi Gente Mi Gente - Hector Lavoe - Greatest Hits Hector Lavoe Salsa USA
Calle Luna Calle Sol Calle Luna Calle Sol - The Original Gangster Willie Colón y Hector Lavoe Salsa USA
Pedro Navaja Pedro Navaja - Ruben Blades - Greatest Hits Ruben Blades Salsa Panama
Anacaona Anacaona - Buena Vista Social Music Cheo Feliciano Salsa Puerto Rico
Mi Desastre Mi Desastre - Tiene Que Ser Manolín Manolin Salsa Cuba
Al Final de la Vida Al Final de la Vida - Super Salsa Summer 2012 Havana D’ Primera Salsa Cuba
El Jala Jala Elito Reve Jr. Salsa Cuba
La Llave de Mi Corazón La Llave de Mi Corazón (feat. Yunel Cruz) - Don Omar Presents MTO2 - New Generation Yunel Cruz y Don Omar Bachata USA
Amiga Veneno Amiga Veneno (Mi Nina Veneno) - Novia Mia Zacarias Ferreira Bachata Dominican Republic
Enamorada De Ti Enamorada de Ti (feat. Juan Magan) [Merengue Mix] - Enamorada de Ti Selena ft Juan Magan Merengue USA
La Luz De Mi Vida Zol y Luna Merengue USA
Boogaloo Blues Boogaloo Blues - Boogaloo Blues Johnny Colon Boogaloo USA

 

Fania

I was recently listening to a great double CD retrospective of music from the Fania Records label called “Fania Records 1964 – 1980”.  Not only does the compilation highlight many of the artists that were signed to the label but it also includes an excellent 32 page booklet that gives a bit of the back story on Fania and its incredible success.  Fania Records was probably the most successful label to release Salsa music.  Though the label didn’t invent Salsa as a musical genre and Salsa wasn’t the only type of music released by the label, Fania Records was the first to take what had traditionally been an assortment of distinct afro-Caribbean rhythms and produce and market them as a uniform sound (the “Fania Sound”).

Fania Records was the brainchild of musician/band leader Johnny Pacheco who with the help of his divorce lawyer, Jerry Masucci, made the label a reality in 1964.  It had humble beginnings and apparently the two started out by selling albums in Spanish Harlam from the trunks of their cars.  However, they were fortunate to have signed some great talent early on including Larry Harlow, Ray Barretto, Willie Colon and Hector Lavoe.  The talents of these artists complimented those of Pacheco’s and the label quickly grew based on the popularity of their music.  That said, the label didn’t really take off until the early Seventies when Masucci worked with a New York club owner, Ralph Mercado, to organize a couple of very successful live performances.  One of these performances was held at the Cheetah Club in Manhattan.  The concert featured the talents of Fania’s super group, the Fania All-Stars.  The evening was a huge success and Masucci had the event recorded and released as a movie called Our Latin Thing.  The next legendary performance was held at Yankee Stadium in 1973 in front of a crowd of over 60, 000 people.  The performance was also filmed and released under the title Salsa.

Through the Seventies Fania grow at a steady rate signing much of the top Latin talent in the US and releasing some of the most well know Salsa music along with way.  However, by the early Eighties many artists were dissatisfied with the fees Fania was paying them and were moving to other labels.  On top of that, it was rumored that the label was having financial difficulties, which may have been the reason why Masucci left the US for Argentian with an agenda “to play tennis”.   Masucci retained ownership in the label and was the sole owner by the early Ninties at which time Fania was a shadow of its 1970’s glory.  He did make a few attempts to revive the Fania legacy including a 1996 visit to Cuba were he signed Paulito FG and Dan Den to a new label called Nueva Fania.  Unfortunately, Masucci died in 1997 before this  label could develop any momentum.

Though the Fania label is now controlled by Signal-Equity its enormus catalogue of music is still available and hugely popular.  You can find most if not all of the Fania albums at the Fania website.

Questions, comments, requests? Send me an email

Hasta la próxima

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