Live Salsa Music (Spanish Harlem Orch observations)

Discussion in 'Salsa Music' started by tallpaul, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. tallpaul

    tallpaul Pattern Police

    Hi guys :)

    Salsa Central has posted an article by Oscar Hernandez, comparing the experiences of 2 Spanish Harlem Orchestra gigs - one in the Copacabana in NY, and the other in St Petersburg, Russia.

    The 2nd half of their set in the Copa was cancelled on the night -and (incredibly) they were told that the punters there were no longer interested in dancing to live salsa music.

    What are people's thoughts on the article? To me, this underscores that live salsa dura music can be rather under-appreciated by the salsa dance community - even in NY!

    (At the least the reception in the St Petersburg congress was much more appreciative though)
    Cephas1618 likes this.
  2. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    I don't think the problem with the NYC gig was with the salsa community - according to the article, people present wanted to hear bachata, reggaeton etc, which is why SHO only got to do one set.

    What Hernandez has documented has happened many times before: a form of music from the ghetto is dropped by the community that created and nurtured it, in favour of the latest creation (which may or may not be of a similar depth); at the same time or shortly afterwards those outside the ghetto are finally able to appreciate the music form.

    The blues is a good example - at the time the blues was at its most creative (1900 to 1960s) it was considerably too raw for most white tastes (less so during towards the end of this period), whilst by the late 50s blues had been dropped by all but the older members of the black community in favour of rnb and soul. During the 60s the white world was ready to handle the music (initially in a diluted form provided by the likes of The Rolling Stones and The Beatles). Now the blues is music that many people around the world appreciate - unthinkable in the first half of last century.

    Returning to the article above, I note he fails to mention SHO's infamous 'no dancing' policy, which I presume has been abandoned.
  3. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    What can you say. It is beyond me how people can claim to love salsa but only if it's on a CD. The live experience is fantastic. You can dance to a CD any day of the week so an opportunity to hear the songs performed live and actually share the experience with the band should be treasured.

    Since I've never even been to NY I can't say why the difference in appreciation of live music. It's a mystery to me. thanks for posting the link.
  4. tallpaul

    tallpaul Pattern Police

    True - my assumption was that the Copa was strongly associated with the Salsa community, but maybe they have a broader pull than that, drawing "latin party" crowds as well as salsa crowds.
  5. groovetpt

    groovetpt Capitán Del Estilo

    That's it. I'm leaving New York City. I'm moving to St. Petersburg...
  6. Abayarde

    Abayarde Capitán Del Estilo

    when people are so used to only listen their favorite CD's in "dancing" venues, they loss the essence of what really a true dancing event is about.

    the main event IS the LIVE music with the real human beings. something is wrong with their attitudes when recorded music is preferred.

    I still cherish the memories of live Salsa events of the 70's and the 80's. they were long preferred then, no matter how good the hi-fi equipment sounded.
  7. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    To be fair, I think if SHO had been playing to a salsa crowd in NYC they would not have had their set curtailed. The fact is, reggaeton is fashionable, contemporary and has a lot of the lifestyle associations of rnb/hip hop, so a lot of non-salseros prefer it to salsa. Personally it gives me a headache so I'll stick with salsa and mambo, live and/or prerecorded.
  8. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    If I had a club I usually went to that usually played timba but one night they advertised that Aventura would be giving a concert, I would not go there expecting timba. I would think that if the club advertised a SHO concert that people who want to see SHO would go there or at least the regulars would be expecting a salsa concert and not be complaining to the management.
  9. groovetpt

    groovetpt Capitán Del Estilo

    The Copa has always been a multi-level venue catering to different audiences at the same time. I haven't been to this new one that just opened but in the last incarnation on 11th Avenue there was the upper floor with live Salsa bands, catering to the more mature Salsa crowd -- the lower level was for the young Hip Hop/Reggaeton crowd.

    The Salsa crowd that prefers dancing to bands is just dying out. The live Salsa scene in New York City is really in a bad state of affairs, as Oscar showed in his article.

    You have to go to Jimmy Delgado's after work party at Julia de Burgos up in East Harlem on Wednesday nights to hear the real deal Salsa bands nowadays in New York City. And that almost had to shut down earlier this year.
  10. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    You're not normal though TM - in a good way I hasten to add, because you know your stuff and you're very interested and passionate. Most people, if they know a night is what they want will attend regardless of any changes they may or may not be aware of.

    Sounds like the promoter is at fault - they booked a salsa band for a non salsa audience, who failed to see the light. Presumably the promoter can't distinguish between a salsa night and a night playing contemporary Latin music, or perhaps they hoped to educate their clientele. Either way it's misguided - if you can't employ a salsa DJ as your resident, why employ a salsa band?
  11. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    Economics may have something to do with it. Most salsa promoters I know here in the UK are not making much, so the choice between a DJ and a band is no choice, and bands are strictly for special occasions, unfortunately. Perhaps similar forces may be at work elsewhere.

    Yet in another thread recently someone on the US West Coast (LA perhaps?) was saying they have a lot of good bands performing regularly.
  12. groovetpt

    groovetpt Capitán Del Estilo

    Sure, economics is a big part of it. Club owners are paying bands less and less every year. A singer I work with always apologizes at the end of the night to me because he feels so bad about paying us less than what he did five, or even ten years ago.

    Oh, there are a few clubs in New York still hiring Salsa bands certain nights, but it's a pretty dead scene. Even the Colombian clubs in Queens that were thriving five years ago are pretty dead, or closed down all together.
  13. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    LOL oh yeah I keep forgetting that.
  14. DJ Ara

    DJ Ara Clave Commander

    I believe that this not something that only afflicts the live music scene. There are a lot of salsa clubs where the DJ is not able to play quality salsa all night, because many of the salsa dancers - "professionals" included, don't seem to be able to take a solid night of salsa.

    The fact is that we are back to the old problem of having non-Salseros running "salsa" nights, as Promoters, Dance Teachers and DJs, where we end up with many nights where what these professionals "like" (salsa, reggeatton, bachata, kizomba, hip hop,etc.) is taught and played, thus creating a "reference" - false one - as regards what a salsa night is all about. When this type of thing expands then you end up with club or live music nights where people will get tired of hearing a quality salsa band and ask for bachata, reaggatton or kizomba!

    It is a free for all out there and I am sad to hear that this has happened in New York, of all places. Shame on all the salsa "professionals" - the conmen and women - who are using the name of this genre to promote their hollow shell circus acts!!!!
  15. tallpaul

    tallpaul Pattern Police

    That seems really sad. If you can't go to New York to hear some live Salsa, where can you go? (Puerto Rico? Columbia?)

    It seems inevitable that if the people creating the music can't keep earning a living from it, then the music will eventually die. Say it ain't so...
  16. DJ Ara

    DJ Ara Clave Commander

    You can hear plenty of live salsa in Cali, Colombia and all over Puerto Rico, as well as Cuba. The Feria de Cali in December is mainly about live salsa when international and local salsa orchestras gather here and do their thing. You can hear live music here all year round. I gather that P.R. and Cuba have their own festivals and live music scenes.

    The fact is that in these countries the little con-men and women who pass for "salsa professionals" elsewhere, would not survive financially to do the harm their doing in the International Salsa Scene - that is a polite way of saying they would be laughed into professional non-existance.
  17. groovetpt

    groovetpt Capitán Del Estilo

    DJ Ara, did you read Oscar's article? What did you think of it?
  18. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    You should also consider taking a vacation to Italy June-august. They have the Latinoamercando festival and have previously had Fiesta in Rome, but in 2011 they didn't have Fiesta for reasons related to the economic problems I assume. But there are a lot of concerts then. Although not all are salsa. they also have other Latin genres. But you should really check out their schedule when it comes out next spring and maybe plan a little salsa trip to enjoy great music in a fun ambiance and meet new salseros etc etc etc.
  19. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    Some information is left out here.

    At first it looks as booking mishap. If it's regular reggaeton night and booker just randomly called some band. But it's highly unlikely to confuse SHO with reggaeton artist. Also it's highly unlikely for such band not to agree on how many sets they will play. It all has to be coordinated with all band members and whoever does the lights and sound. Transportation in NYC is an issue too, I guess.

    Also it's not that hard to tell from the stage if people are going crazy by your music or they don't care. Bands have their followers that would go to all hometown gigs. Size of this crowd is one of the main reasons to book a band. Where were they in this case? They should be disappointed and engage the manager.
  20. A few years ago I went to New York with my girlfriend for a long weekend vacation. Part of why I wanted to go was the Latin Music Collectors Festival in the Bronx. I was naturally worried that she would be uncomfortable (to say the least...) at such an event lasting 12 hours, but she had an amazing time there listening to non stop excellent salsa spun from original vinyl by a long selection of djs. It is one of her most treasured moments of salsa to this day!

    Anyway, in the evening of this event there was going to be a concert with SHO and we both looked so much forward to this. What could be better than seeing SHO play for (and with!) their own latino crowd in the Bronx in New York?

    Unfortunately it was a disappointment. While lots of people had been dancing on the floor during the rest of the event, there was very little dancing to SHO and also lackluster response from the audience and the cheering that we were expecting was missing.

    I don't know what the reason is. I have an unconfirmed feeling that for this audience, every performance gets measured up against the best of the best, artists like Hector Lavoe, Cheo Feliciano, Richie Ray, El Gran Combo, Sonora Poncena, Tito Puente, Conjunto Libre etc. Unfortunately this is a tough bunch of acts to compete against to say the least. Therefore it may be so that the SHO is merely a reminder for this audience that the great days of salsa has passed.

    It is just amazingly hard to make it in New York because of this and also it is just about impossible to create a name for your self because commercial latin radio does not play this music, but instead reggaeton, bachata and a few stints of commercial salsa romantica.

    For the rest of the world we are just starved for anything so it is a big event whenever a band visits!
    Richie Blondet likes this.

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