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 was the Mexican known as Toña la Negra, whose popularity was superseded, perhaps, only by Celia Cruz.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"