Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Caribbean

Much of the Latin music and dance in the world comes from the Caribbean. The basics were there long before the first illegal aliens arrived. All the islands had some sort of walking dance, just step, step, step. But they also had something like the Rumba-Mambo, and it contained a rock step and a slow step and they broke wherever the accent was. And it was quick, quick, slow, which are really the same for all of the other dances too, except for the different names on the different islands. In Cuba it even had different names in the different sections.

"When you start dancing you will see many things that will startle you.
You will feel things you never felt before."

Sailors traveled all over the Caribbean, and they were the ones that spread and unified the dance. The sailors would see the different but similar dances and in describing them, they would say, "por ese rumbo" which means in that direction, that kind.

"Moliendo Cafe"
por Azucar Moreno

It became the name of the dance and the only thing that changed was the gender to La Rumba and it remained strictly an indigenous dance, better danced out in the sticks. But the name is Spanish not any of the mumbo jumbo that it comes from Africa. It acquired the name long before the African slaves arrived.

"Mi Son Maracaibo" por Rene Touzet

The influence of the Caribbean has been naturally great. First into Mexico, then into the US, and the rest of Latin America. However late in the 20th century the money makers manufactured new dances almost every day. Some made it for a while and some just never made it. Remember the Lambada? Ha! Live music at present predominates in Salsa and will also be into Bachata. It is shaping up into a more recognizable Latin music and dance for the younger dancers.

 "I was drinking at the bar last night so I took a bus home. May not sound like
a big deal to you, but I had never driven a bus before in my life."   

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Live On Oahu

We have on Oahu some of the best DJs in the Pacific. Not many dancers complain about the music except those the are not interested in LAGS. (the latest and greatest syndrome) which is part and parcel of being a good DJ. Keeping up with the latest. There are DJs in all in our neighbor islands.

"Fortunately in our dance world, there is no time limit to make changes. We can start whenever we want. We can change or stay the same - there are no rules."

For the artists in our midst, live music is the way of the future and they have many fans on Oahu. Just that most of the fans keep it a secret and will not tell us. The music industry, as a whole, continues its slow implosion, revenues from live music festivals continue to break records. That’s in part because many listeners and dancers just like live music.

"I'll Remember You" by Don Ho

Many musicians give splendid performances when they perform in front of an audience, And specially when they know many of the customers personally. This idea contradicts some research in music performance studies, in which the presence of the audience has often treated as a distractor or noise. Not on Oahu.

"Fly Me To The Moon" by Jimmy Borges

Psychological theories suggest that people prefer average faces, voices, and melodies because they’re easier to process. While some studies show that listeners like mundane music, others demonstrate that both listeners and dancers value individuality when it comes to our musicians. And the oldies but goodies are still coming out ahead.

"Morning Dew" by Melveen Leed

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Western Fluke of History2

Dancing on the "2", by Aristides Raul Garcia
AKA "El Intruso", New York

I’m going to try and catch this slippery cat by the tail. Let’s take a closer look at his original dance and the Palladium. Mike Bello in his "essay": "Mambo, Cuba created it, New York perfected it", takes the Mambo on a non- stop supersonic flight from Cuba to NYC. He, like every other "dance on 2" expert, decides to ignore the fact that the trans-culturalisation of Cuban music in the Caribbean Basin was in motion long before the Mambo made it to New York.

"Nothing really ends, it may be neither an end nor a beginning but a going on,
with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us."

Lets take a brief look at Mexico in relationship to this transculturalisation. For artists coming from the Spanish Caribbean, long before New York became a center of Latin music, Mexico was the Latin Hollywood. The center of Latin music and one of the largest cities in the world. The goal of just about every band, singer, or musician from the area was to perform and be recorded there. In turn, many Mexicans took to this music whole heartedly and some of it spread into their other dances. One of the most famous singers of Sones, Boleros, etc. was the Mexican known as Toña la Negra, whose popularity was superseded, perhaps, only by Celia Cruz. She was, and still is, a legend.

"Mambo Guajiro" by Rene Touzet

Agustin Lara, composer, arranger, and singer (also Mexican) was in high demand all over the Caribbean in the late 40’s and all throughout the 50’s. One of his most famous compositions is "La Clave y el Bongo alegran el Corazon". He was writing poems and music to the Claves before Manhattan knew how to eat with them. Before New York knew about the Mambo, Mario Moreno (Cantinflas) - also Mexican, was dancing it both seriously and comically. In reality by the time the Mambo made it to NYC, it was considered "zapato viejo" (old shoe) even in Cuba.

 “When we dance, all that is important is this one movement to the music. Let us make that moment important, vital, and worth living"

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Latest

Live Music and Dance is really coming into its own lately and without our help. But some are sooner or later going to realize what a blog can do. But first they have to know what counters do. Then we can find more people willing to share their music and dance experiences with their fellow dancers. And fortunately, most musicians on Oahu are some of the best.

"Dancers may discover for themselves that all they have read and all they
have been told are lies, lies, lies; and each discovery may be another
nail driven into the body on the cross of life.”

Most Live Music groups have Web sites and for sure, none of them having been leading the way in Public Relations. Most have Web sites simply because it the thing to have. There are groups that one never hears of because they would rather remain private, or something. So blogs offer free Public Relations and fortunately we have plenty of blogs on Oahu. And many people are beginning to understand "Blogging," and "Social Media." No, our blogs do not have Advertising.

"Stranger In Paradise, by Jimmy Borges.

We use Blogger which is owned by Google, and they are not going to be pushed around by Microsoft. Of course, Apple is getting to be that way too. Tough. With the forcing of Windows 10 on the hapless computer users, Linux is the only alternative and they have got a whole slew of choices. They are open source which means free and you are not forced into anything like in Windows.

"Maui Waltz" by Loyal Garner

Hooray, it is a beginning for our two way street. Live Music will be featured in this blog in the very near future. Our readers will find it easier to send in opinions which are worth their weight in Gold. That will in turn send the hits even higher. We don't need contributions of money. We need contributions of social dance information and photos to share with our recreational reader/dancers. That is our raison d'etre.

"Laissez Le Bon Temps Rollez"

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Live Music?

We are gradually getting there. Thousands and thousands of dances out in the world from the beginning. The Mexican Civilizations developed over 3000 different dances. And you got something new? Yeah, Man. Music has been accepted as a must in dancing but now there is something else. The modern social aspect of the dance environment which includes eating.

"Yes, we can love everything that's old, - old friends,
old times, old manners, old books, old wine."

Huggo's is doing very well, however the posters could be a little less info
and clearer colors for posting to a computer in anything.

Of course I do get some made in Microsoft app with a "lock in" which forces anyone to buy Microsoft to open it. Cute. Fortunately, I have a work around that works sometimes. If I cannot open it with Photoshop, I try Paint. If I can open it and close in JPG, then I can open in Photoshop and tidy it up there.

"Fly Me To The Moon" by Jimmy Borges

Then there is good dancing action coming up in October and West Hawaii
is becoming a true second city on the Big Island

"Wine is not just an object of pleasure but an object of knowledge;
and the pleasure depends on the knowledge."


Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Music is everywhere. We can’t escape it. We listen to it on the radio while driving around doing errands. We hear it in the background sound effects at the movie theater or on the television. Commercials use (or abuse, depending on your perspective) music to catch your attention and try to make a sale. Music is in grocery stores, public buildings, work-out facilities, recreation centers, and schools.

"A foolish person may seek happiness in the distance;
but the wise may grow it under their feet."

Perhaps the only place you might be able to escape it is in the library. Do we really want to escape music? Have you ever thought about abolishing it? Is it possible to eliminate it from our lives? It has been embedded into our psyche since the day we were born. It soothes, relaxes, inspires, controls, and manipulates – all that and much more. Music is a part of our lives. So, when did music begin?

"Stranger In Paradise" by Tony Bennett

In our early lives as humans, the young would jump for joy or just run for the fun of it. Then Agriculture was discovered about ten thousand years ago, all over the world and people settled down in groups. Drumming and humming began and new instruments were used. They were soon moving to the rhythm of  "live music" and "we" became dancers. Some to this very day on Oahu, prefer to dance to Live Music. Yeah, but where?

"The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise" by Les Paul and Mary Ford

About the only one that gets this kind of information is Richie Fun of Dancing Nights blog and the blog gets the hits. I am going to attempt a few excursions into the night club scene, now that my foot is better and I can walk a little more even though I must use a walker. Then I have good arrangements now with the Handi Van and it is much better than switching buses.

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated
through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time,
this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through
any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it."

Friday, July 8, 2016

Caribbean Music and Dance

Humans have always been adventurous and in Florida they were not any different. About ten thousand years ago at the same time as the extinction of the Sabre Tooth Tiger and two thousand years before the emergence of Agriculture, the Indians having been in Florida over a millennium began to travel to the Caribbean, mainly to Cuba being the largest land mass close by and only 90 miles away. About two thousand years later, the Indians from Yucatan in Mexico traveled to the Western part of Cuba which is about the same distance as Florida to Cuba.

"If there is no wind, Row!"

With the discovery of Agriculture, they began to establish villages and rhythms by beating on anything and humming along. This was a human trait and developed all over the world right about the same time. Soon enough, they had other instruments for music and singing and dancing. Much as we can see in modern day Africans dancing up and down in an even rhythm.

"Por Un Amor by Linda Ronstadt

Then about 3 or 4 millenniums later, the Indians from South America also traveled to the Caribbean up through the Lessor Antilles islands and dispersed throughout the southern part of the Caribbean. Naturally they all brought their own music, rhythms and dances, and there must have been a little borrowing from each other and learning as they went along.

"Contigo A La Distancia" por Lucho Gatica

However, the biggest influence of their music and dance in the Caribbean must have come during the big empires in Mexico, mainly the Mayan influence in Yucatan, some two or three thousand years ago. There were metal maracas in Mexico (circa 300 AD), so it is reasonable to accept that the Indians of the Caribbean had maracas long before the illegals arrived. And let us have none of this mumbo jumbo about coming from Africa. This was mainly to the Western end of the Island of Cuba but it eventually established Cuba as the center of all Latin Dancing with Puerto Rico firmly in second place. Cuba is also the largest island in the Caribbean so it stands to reason.

"Moliendo Cafe" por Azucar Moreno

So that by the time of arrival of the first illegal aliens in 1492, the music and dance throughout the Caribbean was pretty well established. There were of course many different rhythms and different dances. There also happened to be many that resembled the rumba of today and - that is now danced throughout the world.

"We may dance a little less in motion to our favorite music and just a little
more in spirit and perhaps we can awaken the dreamer within.” 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Latin Music and Dance

by Richard Rosenberg, Lualualei

The Clavé, pronounced (klah-veh) is the basic rhythmic pattern of all son (rumba-mambo) music, including the Cha Cha Cha. Clavé sticks (or a percussive instrument) strikes 3 beats in one measure and two beats in the next measure. For the cha cha cha and mambo-son dances, the break is on the regular conga beat two.

"Do not aspire to immortal life, but exhaust the limits of the possible"

In contrast, most typical Salsas are not written for son clavé rhythm. So, Salsa dancers usually break on the one or the three, perfectly good interpretations of this music - even if they use the basic Mambo structure. Boleros are not sons and usually not arranged around clavés, and they break naturally on beat three with the "slow" over beats one and two.

"Frenesi" by Artie Shaw

Many mystified musicians have wondered why so many dancers have gone against the grain with bolero music. But it has been quite evident that the merging of the two styles has been in merely defining the Rumba as faster than the Bolero, but basically they have remained very similar.

"Green Eyes" by Jimmy Dorsey

A Latin Singer records a beautiful bolero in rather fast time and it becomes perfect to enjoy a nice Rumba dance to it. There is an American rendition of "From Here To Eternity" that is almost a Rumba and it is most beautiful to dance Rumba to it. But of course, most of us dance to music. Sooner or later we will have a more standardized Social Rumba. Then we can dance with each other all over this island and we will not have to worry about nitpicking details.

"Friendships double your joys and divides  your grief."