What is Mambo

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by Offbeat, Jul 14, 2017.

  1. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'Fania' Pacheco

    Let the great debate begin :)

    What is mambo genre? It is a word use much like "salsa". Hard to nail down and can mean different things to different people.

    Feel free to post videos to support your pov.
    matty, Marcos, wol and 2 others like this.
  2. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    Music wise:

    While I won't define it (I'll leave it to the real giants of the forums) - I think it is safe to say that 'Mambo' is a genre of music.
    In that case, using the name "Mambo" to describe the Fania-esque music often played in venues of linear Salsa should be as weird as replacing it with "Guaguanco", "Cha Cha Cha', "Guaracha", "Guajira" and so on...


    Dance wise:

    -We know that there is a BR dance called 'Mambo'. I think Terence said it was derived from the square form of (BR) Rumba, which was essentially Danzon. Some sources say it was derived from Son. (perhaps this is another 'Mambo'?)

    -Both Yoel Marrero (here) and Daybert Linares (in his blog) stated that 'Mambo' in Cuba was a short-termed trend, and a different dance. (different dances, same name).
    terence likes this.
  3. nowhiteshoes

    nowhiteshoes Pattern Police

    I'm sure this thread will turn into an 18 page arguement thread (again...:troll:) but my thoughts are:

    The definition has changed.

    In the 60's, it was palladium era mambo. 60s Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez and Machito. Dancing palladium mambo: 823,467 (or the other way round).

    Now the term is for dancing ET on2 (123,567 but maybe stepping early on beats 1 and 5). Dancing to 70s dura, guaguanco, dura, charanga, 60s mambo and even certain romanticas (not from the 80s. ).

    That is my interpretation and if I am wrong, then I am wrong.

    Optional extras: used to be white jazz shoes, now red. bandanas, one trouser leg rolled up, sun glasses inside, towel hanging out back pocket. :troll:
    Offbeat, wol, MAMBO_CEC and 3 others like this.
  4. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Here are some songs that I would put into the mambo category. ( which begs the question. how many of these do congress DJs play ? )...

    J. Pacheco...recuerdo arcana
    C.Cruz... pachito eche
    Mongo Santamaria...mambo mango
    La Playa... se como casare
    Machito...mambo mucho mambo
    Ralphy Santi...buenavista guaguanco
    Conjunto Libre... El son
    Frank Hernandez...jicotea
    Son de Loma... songo Y guantana
    Moncho Rivera...crianza urbana
    Frankie Figueroa...aqui estoy yo
    Viso Pagan...rico guaguanco
    Jose Slatert,,, que dichoso es
    Frankie Hernandez...mambo inferno
    Pio leyva...ritmo de mi Cuba
    Joe Cotto... tu inderencia..

    And yes, I do play these in my gigs ( among others..)
  5. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    I know you asked about congresses, but I also know you are interested in trends around the globe, so:

    In Israel:

    - Kova line: All of them. And lots of them.

    - Other lines: Only those:

    *Only here and there.


    -I also personally really liked:

    Pio Leiva – Ritmo de Mi Cuba
    Aqui Estoy Yo - Frankie Figueroa
    Fran Hernandez - Mambo Inferno
  6. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Those were kinda random picks, and I'm sure they have been played over time, but, with newer dancers, they may be fresh .
    Thanks for the info..
    Dissonant Harmony likes this.
  7. Dissonant Harmony

    Dissonant Harmony Rhythm Deputy

    Let's say I have heard many songs that sounded like those -
    but the only one I actually knew was Mongo Santamaria - Mambo Mongo.
  8. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    Or maybe it's just that many people on the salsa scene are clueless about what mambo means. If there's enough of them then that could constitute a change of definition, but I'm dubious.
    Live2dance likes this.
  9. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    To be fair some are like you and are actually aware that they are giving the term a different meaning, which is more forgivable.

    My problem is that by lumping salsa dura and mambo music together:
    it's incorrect so it is giving people on the salsa scene misinformation
    it discourages people from learning what mambo music and salsa dura actually are - I don't believe the 2 terms are synonymous, but that seems to be a common misconception on the salsa scene.
    Marcos and terence like this.
  10. Marcos

    Marcos Son Montuno

    Yes, the problem is that Mambo can be many things to many different people, who often don't realize the person with whom they are speaking with will think of a different meaning:
    1. The Cuban based music style with a certain nervous tinge. It often features strong use of Saxophones and became popular in the 1950s by Perez Prado, Tito Puente, and many others.
    2. The dance that developed with that same music style. However, Eddie Torres (either himself or some of his followers, not sure) often referred to their dance as Mambo, even though their dance style developed much later, and it was more often than not danced to more modern Salsa music.
    3. A brass based section of a song that has a repeating theme, usually adding additional brass instruments after a number of repetitions. Its introduction into the song usually leads into a more energetic portion of the song which may include instrumental solos, montunos, breaks, etc. While the origin of this type of section lies with Cuban music, it has been transported to and referred to as Mambo in other types of music such as Merengue.
    4. Urban Merengue. Those who play this music often refer to themselves as Mamberos (google it and see). For example the band, Omega y su Mambo Violento. The origin of this usage probably came about after the Mambo pattern became commonplace within Merengue music.
    5. In Congolese, it can mean a conversation with the Gods. This usage is perhaps best represented in the Mambo Yo-Yo song by Ricardo Lemvo (who is Congolese but in the song mentions Nigerian Gods, and in the Video shows a boy dressed as the Nigerian God Eleggua).
  11. canei

    canei Son Montuno

    Alright, I'll add what I've come to understand it to be.... though I know I have a pretty uninformed opinion. I have a better understanding of what it means in the DR. I’m sure others are experts in what is means in other countries.

    I think your point 5, is the first meaning of the word mambo, and the reason the word gets re-used so many times in so many different genres.

    In bachata it’s the high-energy jam/improv/instrumental solo section of a song. You can usually distinguish it by the guira playing the ‘caballito’ (galloping) rhythm. You don’t often hear it much on studio recorded versions, since it is understood to be a live thing, though some artists like Anthony Santos do try and use a bit of it in their recordings.

    In merengue your point 3 Covers most of it, but eventually it specifically came to refer to the driving beat that tambora plays during that section. It’s a simpler rhythm than most other merengue rhythms because of the high-energy, the speed and the improv solos. After that entire merengue songs were written using that rhythm throughout the whole song, rather than for just a section, and the genre of merengue mambo was born (point 4). Had it’s hey-day from about 2004-2010, whereafter merengue electronico came around and brought the speeds and energy right back down.

    I’ve seen & heard the Cuban version (point 1 and 2), and naturally sneak in the odd mambo move when dancing casino, or when it comes up in rueda. Don’t have the depth of knowledge to explain it, but I mean something like this

    In the States is where I get most confused, I know it’s a thing, but don’t know enough to know where one genre starts and another ends.

    It’s just helps to be aware that it means different things in different places. I’ve seen someone ask a Cuban DJ for a mambo, thinking they would be getting something really New York sounding, and then getting annoyed that they were playing this weird old music. I’ve also seen a Dominican asking a Colombian DJ for a mambo and then complaining that the DJ didn’t play a single merengue all night.
    Offbeat, Live2dance, wol and 3 others like this.
  12. Marcos

    Marcos Son Montuno

    Thanks for helping expand the Merengue & Bachata piece, you've made me better educated.

    I think empathy is actually part of being intelligent and being educated. Many people who throw the term empathy, don't even really understand it. The ability to put yourself on somebody else's shoes also means you need to be smart enough to know how they might think, and even whether they are able to think in certain ways. This is very important where I work, because in our large organization we have a very diverse workforce which turns over ~50% of personnel every 3.5 years.
    Dissonant Harmony likes this.
  13. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    That vid, has little or nothing to do, with the social aspect of Mambo.

    One may use some older recordings that, reflect the style of music played, in mambos emergence, into the "dance " and that
    became somewhat codified , by the "style" it developed, and,the variety that was danced socially.

    And, I don't know what your confusion in the "States" means ?.. Dance ? or Music ?.

    Also, conflating 2 genres, does no service to either , but leads to more confusion. Both dances ,eventually, will lose their identity .

    Adding steps from other sources ,which is common practice , lead to the more established format that, the "dance" Mambo in this case, evolved into , and that remained kinda stagnant until salsa emerged. The music, as you know, has changed, but the variety by and large was adopted from mambo into the modern day version of salsa.

    As TP said.. " All salsa is mambo , but, not all mambo is salsa "
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2017
  14. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Pretty much all that you wrote, has been quoted and written , ad infinitum.
    One needs to separate the academic side of "dance " into a more pragmatic approach, i.e. the " Social " forms that ,are social accepted norms.

    The roots of Mambo's modern day interpretations of the dance , defines the structure and musical applications, that were developed in the 40/50s .

    Bottom lime is; ALL social dance formats are hybrids, and each has its own source, and altho claims as to origins are endless ,there is generally a consenus , as to the style of "dance" and "music" that reflects their origins .
  15. Marcos

    Marcos Son Montuno

    Looks like you skipped my last post, as I have no idea what it is that you are referring to in this, or the post you published right before it, and I would be willing to bet the same for the average person or even the average salsa listener. Your punctuation errors don't help and are a distraction.
  16. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    I did not skip your last post. And the reference I made, was to the lengthy post you wrote . .
    I included a comment ( not by you ) about the Vid, as it was germane to the subject matter .
  17. Live2dance

    Live2dance Shine Officer

    Indeed but if we take this approach, it has also been argued that it is son!
    Marcos likes this.
  18. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    From a musical standpoint, there is a distinct difference between the musical construction of Son and Mambo/salsa and of course, there are often strong Son elements present in both.
    Son the "dance " also stands alone . .
  19. Marcos

    Marcos Son Montuno

    This reminds me of a documentary I watched a while back about Brazil starting an Afirmative Action program for their Universities. They required a picture to determine if the student was Black enough and that they weren't cheating. Identical twins applied, one was approved and the other rejected on that basis.

    I haven't read a detailed explanation in this discussion of what Mambo is and isn't with enough detail to agree or disagree to such a statement when contrasting it to the music referred to as Salsa, and determine whether they are like the Brazilian twins and it's merely a classification issue, or they are more different.

    I will say that as far as dance is concerned there are enough differences in say, Casino, to contrast it from the Mambo dance that developed in the 50s; and that they are more like close cousins rather than twins.
    Smejmoon and Live2dance like this.
  20. Live2dance

    Live2dance Shine Officer

    Indeed I tend to agree with you that it deepends very much on defining what we are comparing. Is it the initial mambo from Cuba (mixing danzon and son) or the later US style which added the jazzy parts into mambo? And are we talking about salsa as Fania stars salsa or we consider salsa as a wider musical umbrella which includes Cuban and South American "salsa"/timba/son based music?
    Marcos likes this.

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