Salsa > What do you want from a Salsa DJ

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by matty, May 14, 2010.

  1. urish

    urish New Member

    Well, I do think DJs should keep the music short. I usually never play pieces longer than 6 minutes, unless they are very good ones. And sometimes I do cut songs longer than that (a priori, not live), especially ones with faster tiempo.
    A good example for that will be "La dueña del swing" of "Los Hermanos Rosario" - a quite uptempo Merengue, with a repeating section. I have a version that I cut at around minute 3:53. So far, I didn't hear anybody complaining about cutting it - rather the exhausted dancers seemed to be grateful for something slower like a bachata after 4 minutes of dancing fast Merengue...
  2. Actually, I don't have any objections to cutting a long song short. When I say long I mean like 6 minutes or more. Most songs I hear that are that long are usually repetitive or they loose the main "idea" after a while. The second half of those songs usually sound completely different than the first half.
  3. urish

    urish New Member

    Yes, I know what you are talking about... Now think about live performances, when they play songs for 10 minutes or more.
    I was once in a local club here, and they had a live band playing "No Le Pegue a La negra", they played it for like 12 minutes or so, and uptempo. Even though I had a really great dance, with a very responsive follower, we both got tired at some point... Hard to dance for so long without any break !
  4. urish

    urish New Member

    Oh, another thing - One song that I do like even though it has a feeling it should have been terminated before is "Nadie Como Ella" by "Marc Anthony".

    I mean, when you listen to the music, around minute 3:30 it sounds like the song is going to end... and then a surprise, comes another section. Then at around 4:00 you think the song really going to terminate this time - another surprise. I was always fooled by that when I began dancing :)
  5. matty

    matty New Member

    haha this has happened to me with that song;-)

    i have started to organize my music according to BPM as you mentioned before, its insteresting actually, some songs had tricked me , and are a little slower/faster than they sounded.

    it seems that by far most seem to fall in 90 to 100 BPM
    just a couple below 80BPM
    and a few over 110BPM

    obviously you cannot play very fast ones too many in a row, but do you have any golden rules from experience such as "no more than one fast one at a time" or so? .. or is this just "see how it goes" sort of thing

    for example if i play a certain kind of song and a lot of people dance to it, there is going to be a voice in my head saying "keep it going, play another up-beat song after", but is this something i need to let go of, that is part of the salsa experience. they will enjoy that song and that will be that. the next song is a whole new experience.

    likewise, with slower romantic ones, is it wise to play a few in a row to give people that chance to dance with a particular partner they may want for that kind of song or better to just drop in one slow song at a time?
  6. Laurie

    Laurie New Member

    Cool thread! People keep mentioning variety, and I am glad that also tempos have been included in that variety. Does anyone also think about mixing up songs with male and female vocals?
  7. TangoRocks

    TangoRocks Member

    I actually like songs that are not monotonic (the same salsa beat over and over and over) but changes either tempo OR does funky stuff, like, stopping for a highlight and picking up after that and continuing. I've found a number of salsa and mambo songs like that and I enjoy those a lot more than the same-old-same-old tempo ones since those songs let you express things in your dancing that are not possible to do when you are doing it to the monotonous pieces.
  8. matty

    matty New Member

    i think its probably safe to say that most salsa is sung by males, though personally i value very highly any good female vocalist

    to name some, la india, raquel zozaya, mimi ibarra, but im also on the look out for more..i would be happy to hear of any gems out there
  9. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    I,m sure you have C.Cruz,, and maybe these ?..

    La Lupe*
    Teresa Garcia
    Celina Gonzalez
    Omara Portuondo*
    Graciela.... Machitos daughter
    A.Rincon,L.Alzate and H.Suarez with Son Real

    many more, but these come quickly to mind..

    * they both do a lot of Rumba/Boleros, in addition to Salsa..
  10. Amanda Coyle

    Amanda Coyle New Member

    Mixing it up is good--including female vocalists where you can, though there aren't as many in salsa music...
  11. urish

    urish New Member

    I usually put uptempo music when there are too many dancers in the club and it's starting to get crowded... usually after on uptempo song many of the dancers get tired and go to sit, then I get back to normal tempo range (90-105BPM).

    I posted my playlist from one of my DJing sessions only, you can see it here, it will give you a good idea of how I see the things as the DJ:

    You can also see there a little experiment I did to drain every bit of energy left amongst the dancers near the end of the party, look there for the "After Party" section...
  12. urish

    urish New Member

    I see the forum has removed my playlist url, you can just google for "friday salsa playlist" and you will get it first hit...
  13. wonderwoman

    wonderwoman Well-Known Member

    I wish my guy played more salsa with an identifiable beat.. I can't always find it. More bachata, less merengue.

    I don't like the cupid shuffle, if anyone else has ever heard of that.
  14. urish

    urish New Member

    Cupid Shuffle?
  15. matty

    matty New Member

    hi folks

    well i just did my first salsa gig to a healthy crowd of seasoned salseros in my local area, i was nervous! but after all it was quite a success! everybody had good things to say about the DJ as far as i gather which is not common in the salsa scene here.

    so i want to thank every one of you who offered opinions on this thread, as really you saved my life!

    particularly Uri, your insight into DJ ing, helped me alot.

    i tried to take on board everything that has been mentioned in the thread, and i really left it up to how i felt on the night, as to what order to play the music in.

    i did notice what you mean about watching the crowd, i noticed you can see when the people are dancing, weather or not they are comfortable with that particular song.

    admittadly it was hard for me to build the courage to change the music for fears of affecting the vibe, but in retrospect, the times i changed it up payed off more than the times i didnt, i know now that i musn't underestimate the salsa crowds ability to enjoy fast music as much as slow!

    when you put on a new song the dancefloor sometimes seems to die a short death while people mill around sip their drinks and decide to pick a new partner, this is an insecure moment for me as a dj, but then a few minutes into the song the dancefloor is in full swing again,

    they got a large rueda together at one point and i did mix the tunes just that one time, from one timba tune to another, i noticed some of the members of the rueda looking at one another unknowing if they are supposed to end or continue, they went on with it, though they were tired after the second song, and it drained the dancefloor a bit for the next song, i think i will stick to one song unless in extreme circumstances or if the only start the rueda with little left in a song..

    another lesson i learned was when going out on a limb ie. playing merengue, chachacha or bachata, i need to be careful how much of this i play as only certain people within the club will dance to it, and just because one song packs the dancefloor , doesnt mean the next one will.

    i tried to keep an even spread of familiar type tunes, mixed in with the music i want to be familiar to them, and it was noticed and appreciated, there is definitly a certain spark in the way people move when there is someting familiar about the song ,

    and i think there are a few songs which give people that spark even on first listen.. these are real gems for a dj, i would say of those,

    "puerto rican power - tu carinito"
    " dame cinco"
    "al delory - via
    "grupo gale - ave maria pues"

    and there were some songs that didnt make as much impact as i hoped, such as "maelo ruiz - soy tuyo" , i guess the lesson here is just because a song makes the hair stand on the back of your neck when you listen to it in your car , doesnt mean its the best song for the dancefloor.. likewise the best song for the dancefloor may not be the one i listen to every day in the car.

    i didnt play any salsaton or regaeton (although i had braught plenty), seemed like it was not missed at all.. certianly nobody asked for it, this is something more relevant to a latin crowd and 'alas' there wern't any latinos or latinas last night.

    there is a great satisfaction in seeing many people enjoy a song that you love.:D

    thankyou salseros!
  16. urish

    urish New Member

    Hi matty,

    really glad to hear you managed to go through it and get positive feedback from the crowd, I love the satisfaction that I get when I put a song I like but I am not sure how the crowd will like it, and it catches like fire and everybody dancing and enjoying it...

    I actually haven't been DJing for a while, around two months since the last party, and I am starting to miss it.

    Of the songs you mentioned, "Via" is the only "gem" that also applies here in the local Salsa scene. It's actually a cover for a song by Willy Chirino, from his 1992 album Oxigeno, people also like it when I put the original song. "Dame Cinco" is also popular here, but I'd not call it a gem. The other two are not very popular here, they don't play them a lot.

    I actually had a similar incident with Maleo Ruiz, I put his "Aruma de mujer" and I thought the crowd was going to dance like crazy... Well, it came out that they asked me "stop putting this ****, put Marc Anthony for god sake". I guess when it comes to Romantic Salsa, people just like Marc Anthony over all the other alternative.

    So when are you going to DJ again?
  17. matty

    matty New Member

    tomorro actually! :eek:

    a popular party promoter in my city asked me to play for his birthday party this weekend.

    its true! i think his voice just hits the spot with the ladies.

    i do hope to promote other kinds of romantic salsa though, `la receta del amor´ from "el gran combo´new album is such a nice song! i want to try make it popular.

    im trying to think of ways to increase awareness of the music such as maybe doing up a bunch of free promo cds or something like that. back in the 90s, the circulation of tape cassettes went a long way in promoting nightclubs. though were in a different era now, hard to say if anyone would even value a cd that much.
  18. urish

    urish New Member

    We actually do that a lot. Giving away free CDs with popular salsa music, usually after holding some competition or as a part of promotion. Sometimes some dancers even come to me and ask to give them some music, so when I give them one of the CDs and tell them it's because they are loyal and come to the club every week... It makes them really happy and appreciate the CD they get. They then come again and thank me for the great CD I have given them.

    We just had to print a bunch of CDs with out logo and website, it costed like 70$ for 100 units back then along with mastering and all... Anyway, beware that this may be infringement of your local copyright laws if you don't pay royalties for the CDs you produce this way
  19. matty

    matty New Member

    heres one for you,

    someone mentioned to me the fact that there are often more ladies than men, and thus there are often ladies who do not get asked to dance enough, and that it can be good for the DJ to play some 'non partner' oriented music so that everyone can get a chance to go on the floor.

    so apart from my vow to get out there and dance with more ladies while im DJ-ing, im just wondering about ways to deal with this issue in terms of music.

    i can think of some music options, but i am somewhat prudent about it, i do not want to play the wrong thing.

    regaeton and latin hip hop are the more obvious ones i guess. house music is another possibility, but im not even sure if thats a such a good idea at a salsa social, cumbia is another one, super easy to enjoy but im afraid because people have really never heard of cumbia here and i dont want people frowning at me at this early stage.

    some djs here put on some altnerative styles of music which i confess i dont know what they are, and there is a way of dancing it that only the dj himself and a couple of other people know how to do, which makes a situation where they are the only ones dancing and everybody else is just an onlooker, this is fun to see, but not the kind of atmosphere i want to create at my parties, i want everyone involved.

    of course i could just throw any old song , on, but it would be interesting to hear what you lot out there in the salsa world think of this.

    do you (or does your DJ) ever play something thats just totally not salsa?

    or likewise, are there any genres of latin music which are useful for non-partner dancing but fun anyway?
  20. The DJ in the OC, CA on Thursday night plays like weird salsa mix with some techno stuff. It's begining to annoy the heck out me. Wish the dude would just play regular salsa music. It's getting to a point where I'm boycotting the place, going on 1 1/2 month now. :evil:

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