London people...

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by AndrewD, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    I think Latin music is just not appreciated in the UK. Unfortunately that is even more prevalent on the salsa scene than it is in the general population. There are plenty of exceptions to that, i.e. people into salsa who love the music, indeed there are even plenty of experts on salsa music in the UK, but they are vastly outnumbered by those who have no passion for the music whatsoever. Many of whom are instructors/promoters, so attract those of a similar mentality to the scene.

    (Or what's left of it - a lot of people I know with this mentality have progressed to kizomba.)
  2. amsbam1

    amsbam1 Son

    Great point - the more genres/sub-genres, the more freedom to get high standard tunes!

    What subgenres/genres would you play at a UK latin night, if you had full control of the playlist?
  3. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    I'd have to see who turned up for one thing, however I'd definitely want to play some old mambos, if at all possible. Apart from that, classic salsa in all its various subgenres i.e. different eras, countries of origin and different instrumentations, etc. If I also have to play cumbia (which can actually be good but is something I never hear in the UK), merengue (ditto but I do hear it occasionally), bachata (traditional not teen angst) and even reggaeton (at a Latin night not at a salsa night) then so be it, although I can happily live without them.

    One thing I will not play is non-Latin music i.e. R&B or kizomba (the 2 genres a lot of UK salsa promoters consider the hallmarks of a good salsa DJ).
    terence and amsbam1 like this.
  4. MacMoto

    MacMoto Administrator Staff Member

    Hello London people,
    Am I right in thinking that there's ULU on Saturday 10 Jan 2015?
  5. WessexSalsero

    WessexSalsero Rhythm Deputy

    Oh yes, yes, yes! And that's to top off a truly remarkable day: during the day (from about 1pm) is the first Pexava Manhattan Matinee and later on the lovely Chip is throwing a music workshop to get us in the mood for ULU. It's like a one day mini-congress.
    Definitely something to look forward to!
  6. MacMoto

    MacMoto Administrator Staff Member

    Good :)
    Unfortunately I'll miss the afternoon part as I need to be somewhere else, but I'll see you in the evening then :)
  7. amsbam1

    amsbam1 Son

    Do you have any more info on this music workshop WessexSalsero?
  8. MacMoto

    MacMoto Administrator Staff Member

    amsbam1 likes this.
  9. WessexSalsero

    WessexSalsero Rhythm Deputy

    Hey amsbam1! Finally, I've found a free moment to reply to your post which certainly has a lot of validity:
    I personally would agree that the London crossbody/Mambo scene could benefit from resurrecting a dialogue with the Latino community.
    A Salsa scene that is short on Latin spirit could be uncharitably described as slightly bogus and there is a fear that dance teachers who have no affinity with the roots of Salsa will simply promote dancing (technique, moves, performances) to the detriment of the other aspects that made Salsa so successful - the vibe, fun & accessible image, the Latin Fiesta clubbing atmosphere. And we will end up with poor man's ballroom with a fake Spanglish accent.

    Having said all that, there are a host of good reasons why I would be hesitant to overdo it with the criticism.

    For one thing the scene is doing pretty well and has bounced back brilliantly from the slump a few years back.
    There is much more interest in the music and musicality which instructors are trying to cater for but moves/turn patterns remain very popular - cuz they's well-cool, init. A few years back I myself posted some very scathing things about how the London scene appears oblivious to that weird noise thing called 'Salsa music' but credit where it's due, things are evolving, we're on the right track.

    I would really like to know more about these sub-genres that you felt were missing because if there's one thing that is very good about London, it's our DJs, particularly when it comes to variety.

    Finally, there is the problem with the Latino community itself or rather the way it manifests itself on the dance floor. I regularly try and go to Salsa nights outside the main xbody/on2 circuits and the problem with these nights is that it's very difficult to detect this Sabor of which you speak.
    What we see is a massive imbalance between men and women which in itself makes me think that if Sabor was such a big factor why are Latinas voting with their feet and avoiding the opportunity to experience it?
    Could it be anything to do with the conduct of their menfolk on the dance floor?

    Next time you drop by please do let us know so I can point you to a few nights where you can observe for yourself. And then come along to one of the 'dancer' nights - let's do a compare and contrast, it will be illuminating, I promise.

    Incidentally, I visited Paris a while ago and sampled Friday/Saturday/Sunday Salsa using this forum and the Internet to do the research. What I found was very similar to London except on a smaller scale: Friday and Saturday is more of a party night unless your timing is right and there is a big monthly event on.
    (applicable to xbody/Mambo)
    Which small French town do you mean in your post?
    And do tell more about Dublin! I love the Irish as it is, are you saying their weekend Salsa parties are better than London?! I feel a cheeky weekender coming up..

    So all in all, I think your post is perfectly helpful and I hope that our promoters do try and take into account what people like you – whose culture this is after all – are saying.
  10. WessexSalsero

    WessexSalsero Rhythm Deputy

    amsbam1, I hope you return to this thread, there's a few things that do intrigue me about your post:
    Despite your background you've chosen to learn a variety of Salsa dance styles. My impression is that Latinos resist going to formal classes.
    Do you agree? Are you an exception? What made you take up formal learning?

    The other thing that I find odd about your experience is that someone with your profile should really love London Town as if there's one thing that this place excels at it's a variety.
    You seem open-minded, multi-lingual in terms of your dance skills and you have a taste for diversity.
    That should stand you in excellent stead in Town, yet something went wrong.
    I'd be curious to find out more and maybe we can rectify this unhappy state of affairs ;)

    There have been others who've complained about London but, unfortunately, part of the problem is with them and their very narrow, anal definition of what constitutes good Salsa.
    If London puts off people like that...that's not necessarily a bad thing.
    Flying Donkey likes this.
  11. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    So I just booked flight to be in Pexava on Thurs; will be in London whole weekend. :)
    WessexSalsero likes this.
  12. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    Some whining about SOS
    What is this about salsa capital London??!? Don't you find these numbers too small??

    And other numbers; ticket prices are 20% larger than advertised on their web site.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2015
  13. TwoLeftFeet

    TwoLeftFeet Shine Officer

    try 100% larger (for party pass ie fri+sun)

    ill be in london sunday and was hoping to drop in to SOS for a couple of hours before i got last train home.
  14. MacMoto

    MacMoto Administrator Staff Member

    Hmm, you are reading a different page/site?

    According to, the times are:
    Friday: Doors Close: 01:00, then after party (location TBA)
    Saturday: Close: 04:00
    Sunday: Doors close: 01.00

    Parties at the Royal National always finish early... I think it was the same last year? At least dancing also starts early enough on Sunday, and there are no shows on Friday.

    I'll be there on Sat & Sun by the way :)
    Smejmoon likes this.
  15. Tambajoko

    Tambajoko Changui

    I agree with you DJ Yuca! A lot of dancers don't have any passion for the music and they just execute moves rather than connecting with the music, that is such a shame!
  16. amsbam1

    amsbam1 Son

    Great reply WessexSalero

    Bordeaux and Toulouse - I had a couple of great nights dancing there. I have never danced in Paris. Although I prefer Spain.
  17. amsbam1

    amsbam1 Son

    Well, the salsa sub-genres are covered pretty well especially the more 'dura' ones, however I think they need something to balance them out. It is probably too much to expect Londoners to dance to Bolero, Son, Reggaeton, Cumbia or salsa choke. But they could at least mix salsa, timba, bachata, merengue and chachacha in a one room night.
  18. amsbam1

    amsbam1 Son

    I am not a real pure latino as I grew up in a mixture of countries :) That said when I was in school in Colombia, we did salsa classes in school. Also there are a lot salsa/dance schools in latin america.

    Personally, I was part of a Reggaeton group as a teenager and fell into Reggaeton/salsa teaching from a young age, so I was always connected with formal teaching so see no issue with it.
    Smejmoon likes this.
  19. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Not ALL latinos. States-side 50% of my students in salsa classes ( more in private lessons ) were latino. But, there again, I was in a major metro city with a very large latin population and true latin clubs .

    As to music, I will be DJing a gig here in Feb. and my "play " list is very diverse ( like Yucas ) I play old and new releases, Salsa Dura , plus some mambo style and Son, all from different countries. And... NO monga or pop crap .I also throw in a couple of Chas and Bachatas at the end of each set .

    I guarantee that I will always play some music that, one never hears on the usual ( apparently ) salsa nites .

    PS.. I don't play "warp " speed ...:eek:
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
  20. WessexSalsero

    WessexSalsero Rhythm Deputy

    Hey! Good to have you back. Always interesting to see the familiar world through fresh eyes.

    Let me try and provide an explanation based on my experience/observation:
    - Bolero: very rare, has a branding problem as people hear Bolero and think Ballroom; virtually no one teaching it - I am aware of one class - so DJs don't play it; maybe it will become popular one day but for time being Bachata is the genre of choice for the slow, romantic slot(s)
    - Son: gets played occasionally, very few people dance Son, mostly in the Cuban scene; there are some passionate Son fans but no critical mass
    - Reggaeton: to my mind no one has yet explained convincingly how to partner dance to Reggaeton hence gets shunned by dancers and nights that cater to dancers - obviously popular in Latin bars/clubs, though
    - Cumbia: never caught on, neither the dance nor the music; not sure why, might lack that cross-over magic
    - Salsa choke: probably very popular in Latin clubs/bars - is this a good example of Salsa Choke dancing:
    I can see the appeal but this looks far too much like easy fun, sexual horseplay and partying to appeal to the dancer scene.
    - Mixing Salsa and Timba: I am charmed that there are still people out there who voice such radical opinions but I am afraid we have a fairly strict Salsapartheid system here, if you want Timba you go to a Cuban night where you will get Timba - but very little else. A few ballsy DJs catering to the slot-style crowd used to play one or two Timba tunes a night but that seems to have fallen by the wayside. What we do have are multi-room parties with a Cuban room in addition to the main Salsa room, that will have to do for the time being until maybe one day there are enough individuals boasting the required multilingual prowess.
    - Merengue: Used to be popular in the old days of the Salsa scene before the LA/NY slot-styles came along, virtually gone now. Still popular in Latino places, of course.
    - ChaCha: Opposite of Merengue, used to be unheard (of) but has established a presence at nights with a significant number of Mambo dancers.
    - Bachata: Surprised to see this genre in your list as a sprinkling of Bachata is very common across all different types of nights, maybe with the exception of hardcore Cuban parties.

    All of which makes me wonder: Where did you dance in London?
    If you do your research you should be able to find just about everything in your list (even Cumbia..I am sure there's a Mexican place somewhere in London), just not on the same night in the same room.

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