The more veteran readers among you will most probably recognize the song I present you today, as it has been a part of this blog for over 2 years now.
The song for today is Ritmo Ruso.
But, it is not performed here by the original artist, Cuba Jam… or is it?
Well, the thing is, Grupo Changito is a 6 member musical group of all Cuban members, performing mostly traditional Cuban music.
They are based at the studios of Ritmo Productions in Leningrad, Russia, and have been touring Russia and the near abroad for several year now.
So, why did I mention that the song is, at the same time, performed and not performed by the original artist?
That is because the vocalist and guirero of this group, Boris Hecha, is also the author of “ritmo Ruso”, and a founding member of Cuba Jam!
So, here is the song, from a performance at the “waiting hall” club in Russia.
Good day dear readers, listeners and blog followers!
As you all probably know, I love Cuban music.
Some songs I like more thanks to their driving and interestingly syncopated polyrhythmics, some due to catchy melodies, while others because of clever and well written lyrics.
With Adalbero Alvarez, the eternal and very talented Caballero del Son, I suppose that all the above reasons apply, but for this particular songs, the lyrics were what caught my eye… ear… whatever!
From the first lines of the cuerpo, although, naturally, not getting a medical diagnosis, we encounter a funny situation – the singer wakes up after a steamy night with a girl he met, and finds out that she’s a kleptomaniac!
Well, we don’t get to hear that stated directly, but the girl definitely likes “taking souvenirs” from homes and other places she visits!
The song then goes on and on about what happens if this “nice lady” visits other places, cities and other Latin musicians (such as Papo Lucca and Sonora Poncena), including the consequences, such as calling 911!
Finally, the song mentions a very interesting thought: “conocela bien primero, enamorate despues”, meaning “get to know her well first, fall in love with her later”.
Ahh… if this always was the case, life would be much easier, eh?
So, for the special day that shall very soon be upon us, I have prepared a special topic containing much more than the usually featured single artist & single song.
The topic for tonight is salsa romantica, and especially salsa romantica from Cuba (surprising, isn’t it? 😉 ) .
Throughout my 10 years of salsa dancing and enjoying Cuban music, I stumbled upon the topic of “salsa romantica” more than once, and what surprised me time and time again was the confusion most people (including DJs!) have about what salsa romantica is and what it is not.
So, what is “salsa romantica”?
For a song to be associated with this sub genre of “Salsa” music, it must answer 2 very simple conditions:
1. it has 2 be a “salsa” song
2. it has to be romantic, meaning, the lyrics must have something to do with the topic of love.
AND THAT’S IT !!!!!
Nothing else is needed for a song to be classified as such!
It doesn’t have to be of a specific tempo or range of BPMs (it can be slow or fast), doesn’t have to contain or not contain this or that specific rhythm (it can be based on both Son and Rumba, for example), doesn’t have to be of any specific length (it can be 3 minutes long, 7 minutes long, or anything in between!), etc.
As long as it’s a “salsa” song (which can be Son, Rumba, Songo, Timba…), and the subject in that song is romantic in some way, the song is a salsa romantica.
Unfortunately, and quite strangely (to me, at least), people very often tend to concentrate on the “romantic” criterion and forget the “salsa” criterion, classifying all sorts of romantic songs (from pop and commercialized covers of songs from the radio and MTV to certain Reggaeton compositions and also rock, Cumbia and who knows what else…) as “salsa romantica”.
While it is true that those compositions are romantic, they have absolutely nothing to do with “salsa” and any genre of Afro-Cuban (or Afro-Caribbean) music, and thus, do not belong to this category, and have no business being played at “salsa” venues.
Anyways, my post would be damn incomplete if I would not provide good, clear examples of what “salsa romantica” is, wouldn’t it?
So, especially for this day, I made a youtube playlist full of my favorite Romantic Son, Songo and Timba songs from Cuba!
The list if by no means complete, and will be expanded over time.
By the way, if you have any favorite romantic Son \ Songo \ Timba compositions from Cuba and you would like them to become a part of my youtube playlist, feel free to post them in the comments to this post.
This is 1 of only 2 good songs, IMO, from this whole album… since a great breakup of the group sometime in 2010 (which I covered before, when the 2nd album came out), their performance suffered quite a lot, having to replace departing members with new ones.
The group never fully recovered, and the results are obvious; just like in the 2nd album, there are 2 good songs (the one presented today, and also “sabes bien”), 2 pretty horrible songs, and a lot of boring and mediocre stuff…
As an optimist by nature, I prefer to focus on the better stuff, so here it is, the best song of Mayimbe’s 3rd album, “Te Vi Nacer”, called Aguardiente.