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.

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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.

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