Discussion in 'Member Reviews' started by terence, Apr 6, 2013.

  1. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Came across these 2 names that have written books on Salsa.. Matt Rendell and Raul Avila... any info on them, and or books ?
  2. !!!

    !!! Tumbao

    Matt rendell is good on cycling. His salsa book is about his experience - believe he married a colombian. I read ths free sample on kindle but not yet the full book, i liked what i read, but i think it will be a personal rather than historical text
  3. Lost Shoe

    Lost Shoe Changui

    As I don't speak Spanish I'm looking for good books in English.
    All recommendations welcome!

    PS: To be more accurate: Requested are no Salsa books for dancers or musicians, but just for the listening fan.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  4. calichris10

    calichris10 Sabor Ambassador

    National Rhythms, African Roots:The deep History of Latin American dance
    by John Charles Chasteen

    Danzon By Alejandro Madrid
    Jag75 likes this.
  5. MacMoto

    MacMoto Administrator Staff Member

    Raul Avila I have no idea.

    I read Matt Rendell's "Salsa For People Who Probably Shouldn't". As !!! says, he married a Colombian woman and learned to dance salsa in Medellin. The first part of the book is endearing. He also delves into the history of salsa in Colombia (and Cali in particular) and early days of salsa in London, which I found informative. Then he appears to decide he's now a salsa expert and investigates today's (what some people might call) international salsa scene. What he writes reminds me of a certain infamous mammoth thread. I bought this book believing that the title was meant to be self-effacing humour - it's not.

    I also bought another book about a salsa-dancing Englishman at the same time, called "Travels on the Dance Floor" by Grevel Lindop. The premise is somewhat similar - an Englishman learns to dance salsa, gets hooked and decides to travel to Latin America to get to the roots - but it's in fact a very different book. The author is a poet and the writing is beautiful as well as funny. Highly recommended.
  6. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    I just managed to " snag " a book printed in 1998, " Salsa..Musical heartbeat of Latin America ".
    It covers a lot of areas, from musical history to bands, and well known artists .
    Lotsa black and white pics of old groups and bands, with mini synopses of singers and band leaders.

    Couple of mistakes on some of the info. but by and large, a good read .
  7. Jannie

    Jannie Changui

    I was looking for the Danzon book. Is there an online version?
  8. calichris10

    calichris10 Sabor Ambassador

    I'm not sure. But you can get a paper back version through Amazon.
  9. sunsoul

    sunsoul Shine Officer

    Yes, it is a good book. One to recommend..
  10. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    I have just read the Rendell book. It's a bit of a mish mash; we get a lot of info on the history and role of salsa in Colombia, a history of salsa in the UK (most of which is probably previously undocumented), an indepth (a bit too indepth some might say) history of the writer's wife's family, plus the writer's impressions of the 'salsa scene'.

    I really enjoyed the writing about the salsa scene, as he finds it somewhat bewildering and at times he is a bit scathing. As Chris says, it is very reminiscent of at least one controversial thread on here, and I consider these parts of the book rather perceptive. (I'll have to copy some good quotes, although they may offend some people.)

    At the same time, his history and understanding of salsa dance and music is somewhat lacking (particularly cringe-worthy are his comments about on2), and his understanding in general seems to be more based on personal experience than research. Fair enough to a certain extent, however it would have been a more balanced book if he'd tried to discover the salsa in NY outside the salsa scene whilst he was there, instead of just going to scene events/classes. Also, he goes on and on about his wife, who is with him during many of the events in the book, but he never tells us her opinions on anything.

    Overall though I like the book, particularly as I think it's good that a professional writer has documented the absurdities of the salsa scene (no offence to anyone).
    MAMBO_CEC likes this.
  11. Ciaran Hegarty

    Ciaran Hegarty Descarga

    Have read the Grevel Lindop book "Travels On the Dancefloor" and "Salsa For People Who Probably Shouldn't" by Matt Rendell. Both are tales of an Englishman abroad, in a way, but like MacMoto said they are two very different books. Grevel Lindop's effort is a tale of a personable, easy-going bloke who starts going to salsa classes in the UK and decides to spend some time travelling around the Americas to experience salsa on its home turf. He visits the usual list of salsa hotspots, gets some classes from some local instructors, learns a little bit about Cuban religious practices, goes out to some local clubs and goes home. Salsa for the author definitely seems like a pleasant diversion rather than an all-consuming passion, and the same could be said for the book - a nice read to pass a few hours on an airplane, but only ever skims the surface of what the dance, music and culture has to offer.

    Matt Rendell, on the other hand, has an interest in salsa that goes beyond having something to do at the weekend, and his book is a sort of rambling meditation on the role of dance in the human family in general and in his extended South American family in particular. An Englishman married to a Colombian lady, he lives with his wife in England but is struck by the differences between her native culture and his own, notably the omnipresence of music, dance and movement in the everyday rituals of normal life. Often seemingly at odds with his own Anglo-Saxon upbringing, he sees in South American culture a relationship between the mind and body that he perceives as missing from more Western or European cultures, in which the mind is undisputed king and the body a poor relation. Some of his points are belaboured, and some of his thoughts could have done with a little more refinement before being committed to paper, but many things are beautifully observed, and he brings a depth of insight to his writing that I found lacking in Lindop's book. He has little good to say about the salsa he finds in classes and congress halls back home though - the commodification and faddish consumerism of salsa on the European congress circuit leaves him cold - and many points he raises will be familiar to those who followed the "Technique v Musicality/Sabor"* thread here, so if that thread sent you into an apopleptic rage, or if you were part of the censorious rabble who never read the full thread but nonetheless campaigned vociferously for it to be shut down, then this book is best avoided. If, however, you are open to the notion that there may be things about dance that you can't be taught in a classroom, then you may find this book interesting.

    * For those who don't know, "Technique v Musicality/Sabor" is the actual name of the thread that is variously referred to as "A Certain Infamous Thread", "The Thread That Shall Not Be Named", "The Sabor Thread" and "The Toilet Thread", amongst other things. I am not sure if I have broken some written or unwritten rule of the forums by referring to the thread by it's actual name, so if I have, please feel free to substitute the true name with any of the alternatives below:

    - "Gringoes Ain't Got No Sabor"
    - "Who Needs Sabor When You've Got Chicken"
    - "Of Course I'm Authentic - It Says So On My T-Shirt"
    - "Who Needs Chicken When You've Got Hot Sauce"
    - "Does Anybody Actually Read This Thread Or Do They Only Ever Read The Last Two Posts"
    - "All You Need Is Love"
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2014
    Slowdance, Smejmoon, terence and 2 others like this.

    MAMBO_CEC Capitán Del Estilo

    I've just started reading it thanks for the mention. Intersesting take on NY salsa scene!
  13. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    Other alternatives:
    Headless chickens have more fun
    If we say the emperor has clothes then he has clothes
    You said you wouldn't be a playa no more
  14. WessexSalsero

    WessexSalsero Rhythm Deputy

    Yes, it's a pretty harsh twist for the poor reader! There you are thinking that the title refers to the hapless, humble author but then it turns out he's talking
    I've always taken a fairly philosophical view on the debate, particularly as both sides have some very valid points. If he had made the effort to really get under the skin of the 'International Congress Circuit', it could have been a tremendous book but he didn't really fancy it. Decent contribution to the mammooth debate, nevertheless.
    The description of the very early London years was probably the most valuable bit of the book for me personally.
    I enjoyed his writing but would have appreciated a tighter grip on topic and message, a little too rambling throughout.
    Slowdance, MacMoto and MAMBO_CEC like this.

    MAMBO_CEC Capitán Del Estilo

    I am in the middle of reading it..I concur with above so far!!!

    MAMBO_CEC Capitán Del Estilo

    Finished it last like a DJ Ara missive, salsa has gone away from it's roots,Cali is the Salsa central....etc. Touched on some very good points, I am not a literary critic, however he could have done a lot more with it. I think he kinda glossed over the historical bits. Great comments from Leon Rose and Super Mario. The history of the London scene somewhat resonated with me as I was living in England at the time, and every thing we did in the provinces (Manchester) back then seem to emanate from London. Overall Good read, best 96 cents I ever spent on
  17. Salsa Student

    Salsa Student Pattern Police

    How'd you get it for that price, even the kindle edition is $13.50.
    MAMBO_CEC likes this.

    MAMBO_CEC Capitán Del Estilo

    They had a couple that were that cheap, probably nused copies. The copy I bought even had some dude dedicating it to his girlfriend, guess she didn't want it. The postage gets you though. Actually I just looked on amazon and they have a few Nused for $5.75
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014

    MAMBO_CEC Capitán Del Estilo

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