Discussion in 'Salsa' started by NZ Girl, Oct 17, 2005.
that's right: "don't hate the player, hate the game"
My sentiment precisely, salsera_alemana.....!!!
there is a push now to get salsa competitions televised - i think this 'raising of the stakes,' if you will, will emphasize even more the parts of the circus many of us don't care for.
i wonder if i'll look back on this time and say "ah, those were the days... the golden era, before everything spiralled out of control. we would just go the Sunday social with three shirts in our bags and five bucks for water, and dance our faces off for four hours. it was pure, man. pure."
I've yet to run across one old schooler who, behind closed doors, doesn't tell me how horrible Salsa dancing has become since the late 80s. I assume we'll think the same when we get there.
To them first love for the music, then dance was distant second. There are a couple of major players who still try to get the youngsters to see another side of salsa, but with society heading faster and faster towards a look at the facade, there is no room left to inner rooms...
I've spoken to old schoolers from the palladium all the way till the end of the cheetah club. When you get to talk to this folks from the heart, forgetting about all the politics. They think Salsa dancing completely stinks!
They had bands all the way from the 50s through the mid 80s that were superb, giving music lovers more than just a dance. These bands gave them hope, equality, presented the latino lifestyle to the world. The bands became an extension of what it meant to be latino. Now a days we have a couple djs who really don't know what they are playing, but because they play to an uneducated crowd, djs are thought off as great. There is nothing more disappointing than seeing one of these old schoolers sit for hours waiting for a good song, yet all the youngster have been conditioned to believe that bad music is good music, hence they think the poor old man in the corner is just that, too old...
The worst part is that if you can manage to talk heart to heart about the decay of Salsa dancing, they'll solely point in one direction... The circus to these folks started in the late 80s...
that's really interesting. at a social recently i was watching the tape of the famous Fania concert at Yankee Stadium, and you can see the crowd going TOTALLY BONKERS - it's like the Beatles or something.... the onstage energy too was totally amazing.
anyway, an older man came up to me and started watching. he said something I've read elsewhere several times - that it's difficult for us today to understand how important it was for latinos in the US to have their music explode in such a way. even though the Fania 'machine' has been criticized a little bit for jumpstarting the commercialization (and degradation) of latin, especially puerto rican, music in the US, the sense he gave me was that the immediate impact at the time was of immense cultural pride, etc. that political element is completely absent today.
You're talking about 1960s, right? (Gee I didn't know you were *that* old... ) The "pure" salsa was danced in the streets of the barrio, not in a $15-cover club that sells bottled water for three bucks a pop. At the time I'm sure it carried very different connotations, political and cultural, than the lightweight "get sweaty to music" attitude most of us have nowadays. The phenomenon of salsa as a cross-cultural social dance has since transcended the bounds of latino expat communities in the US and became a worldwide movement. I think this is great, no reserve. Whining about the loss of purity would be like the gentry of 18th century Germany whining about the loss of purity of the waltz, and what's with all these "comps" and "bronze" and "silver" levels and stuff ("Aahhh back in MY day a gentleman wouldn't even think about going to a dance without his sabre. And NO MOUSTACHE!?").
The other day I was visiting Paris, France. I couldn't speak a word of french, but I could go to a club, offer my hand with a smile, and dance the night away. I'll take that over "purity" any day.
I think that's great. Any exposure will bring more money into the pockets of good teachers, which is a good thing. I think most of us underestimate the cohesive power a good teacher can have on the local scene (think Eddie Torres). I certainly don't care about watching the circus myself--rather be dancin'--but if it brings fresh blood into the studio all the better. The attrition rate will be high no matter what, so if you start with a ten times the people you end up with ten times stronger scene.
i certainly want dance teachers to be able to support themselves, and well, but i must say, "getting more money into good teachers' pockets" is absolutely not good enough reason to support circus-ification. i'm far more concerned about many other aspects of the salsa experience.
(and truth be told, high demand in new york and worship of SalsaGod Teachers may have made it possible for a few teachers to live well, but their schools and their teaching have unquestionably suffered. there's almost unanimous agreement on that point.)
It is indeed incredible... the 60s were marked by mass movement for equality, an equality that latinos still don't have. So when a sound came out from EL Barrio, talking about politics, and the socio-economic issues that latinos faced... It took root, and presented the world the injustices, and lamenting souls of latinos, all through a happy and lively sound.
That new urban sound came to represent who Latinos were. A nation far, far away from a homeland and mistreated. The embargo in cuba, minority groups fighting for equality, had to force latinos to do something, and riding that wave paved by Black Americans, here came the 70s and the explosion of a brand new sound from Minority Groups in NY City... Salsa was born, pride was re-instated, bringing those away from homeland, closer to our cluture and identity.
At the Palladium, the Corso, The Cheetah, everyone was equal. Blacks, Jews, Italians, Latinos all bonded by one love, Music!
This issues of Salsa isn't facinating because of its dance, but because of what it came be: a lifestyle that created the Latino Identity in the slums of NY City...
To me, that marks the last time latinos didn't try to asimilate to american culture. They instead used a back-bone of latin culture and created their own identity in America... unlike today's movement with Regeton as a movement that uses an american backbone to define a new identity: a latino by facade but an americano at heart.
Facinaiting this whole salsa movement...
The one aching pain I have about salsa is that I wasn't around in the 70s...
(sidenote: i just finished a novel called Bodega Dreams, by Ernesto Quinonez, set in the present-day latino barrio in NYC. it flashes back to the beginning of the latin pride movement in the US - really really interesting stuff.)
I would have thought Regeton sprung from reggae, and so a carribean backbone. For that matter I thought reggaeton was just reggae sung in Spanish.
(and i feel that pain too when i see any of the Fania footage.)
So they say, but in the barrios of Puerto Rico where regeton is said to claim origin, it is simply Hip Hop in spanish with a catchy name.
Listening to the music, the lyrics, the approach of each and every song, exemplfies American Culture. Not caribean... A good example would be looking at me walking down the street in Miami. A latin looking place, spanish speaking place, Latin culture, yet its backbone is a piece of soil in North America. That is what regeton is, details of latino-caribean culture on top of hip hop...
Sorry genEus, but I disagree with you. ANYONE, who is a native english speaker saying "Do you got a stapler on you?" is being sloppy; this is not the same as languague evolving. An example of english evolving? Try and say the phrase of "Do you have a stapler on you" in Shakespearean style! Bad grammer isn't an "evolving moment".
I worked *damn* hard to get high grades in my english classes, with unforgiving teachers. Perhaps this colours my view a bit.
Okay, I digressed (and vented).
Hey salsachinita, long time no see. How's "The Plan" coming along? Tired of the circus?
grammar is spelled with TWO A's, Mr. Language Police!
Ah, but did you get good grades in your Spanish classes?
This makes me think of the war between those who say salsa is solely cuban and those who say it is puerto rican... hehe...
BTW, to me approach is what defines a music... while the article does explain a lot of its origins and truth of its play, it falls where it doesn't represent the sound that comes out...
Kind of like those that say that Salsa is but Mambo, where anyone listening to the music would argue that if it was Mambo, then it wouldn't sound like something totality different.
I like to look at it with the example of a water and salt water, they can be mistaken as one another but not as one and the same once tasted... Or just saying that I'm latino because I eat rice and beans and my mom was born in PR, even while I strictly think like a foreign culture...
yeah, encyclopedia entries can only go so far. but it's good for a primer.
i love the web!
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