Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tropic Orchestra This Friday (2/27)

The Tropic Orchestra joins forces with DJ Salsa Mike this Friday for the "Fifth Friday" party at Carmen's Cuban Cafe. This newest ensemble playing salsa in the Triangle debuted on Valentine's Day. I was there and will publish more details shortly.

Vocalist/leader Ricardo Diquez says they have added a couple of new charts, and will play two sets, at approximately 11:00 pm and [corrected] 1:00 am.

More developing...

UPDATE (2/27):

Billy Marrero, the man with the golden güiro, will be joining Tropic Orchestra tonight. Billy joined Charanga Carolina (currently on hiatus) last fall and is pictured here, far left:deep charanga

Other members of Tropic Orchestra include Jessie Rivera, bongocero, Sherry Damon and Christine Thompson, trombones, Abdala Villegas, timbales, Andrew Munger, congas, and vocalists Ricardo Diquez and Ivan Ramirez.

At their debut 2/14, these guys and gals had good, heavy flavor and charts selected from salsa dura classics that bode well for their aesthetic direction: Oscar D'Leon, El Gran Combo, Cortijo with El Sonero Mayor, Willie Colon with Hector Lavoe. There was a nice, mixed-generational crowd in attendance too, hearkening back to Montas and even Salsa Carolina days. So the vibe was right. It's nice to hear Ivan Ramirez, who I know only as a heavy metal bassist, singing lead. A nice counterpoint to the bright fire of Ricardo, who we knew as "TNT" in the early days of Samecumba. The band is still getting its sea legs on some of the arrangements and odd rhythm breaks, but with some rehearsal and communication they have the potential to work these things out. Sherry Damon, who teaches trombone at Mt. Olive College, already brings a formidable "dirty" sound to the Willie Colon moñas. The band does need to tune up secondary vocals on the coros, and keep that vital rhythm section together. My advice for the bandstand: Don't have too much fun yet. Always remember that playing salsa well is hard work. The best admonition comes from trombonist and ethnomusicologist Chris Washburne in his new book Sounding Salsa, echoing a famous Willie Colon album cover: "Play like there's a gun to your head!"

No doubt a demanding audience of salsa dancers will be there tonight to check it out.

WHAT: Tropic Orchestra
WHEN: live music 11pm-2am Friday (2/27)
WHERE: Carmen's Cuban Cafe
COST: $15 (student and military ID: $10)

The Tropic Orchestra's myspace page

Carolina Latin Social has made this a Meetup event.

Post-gig Playback (added 2/28):

Billy Marrero was a replacement for Jessie Rivera for this gig. A new pianist played also, Venezuelan Andres Leon. He played a couple of solos which provoked interest, the first in "Todo Tiene Su Final" started off abstract, held its own and developed into a decent, long solo. Nice to know another pianist in the area who can play a long solo. Tropic wrapped up its second set with a slow, dark cha cha in which Christine Thompson laid out a bluesy trombone solo. Leon again showed nice colors in a second solo that was the richest of the night.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The many moods of Love

At the Toby Love show on Sunday, we saw both his softer and his "crunkier" side. Actually the term "crunkchata" seems a little hyped, as does calling this a "hiphop" blend. I would call it bachata romantica and draw a parallel to the commercialization of salsa romantica in the 90s. While it's true that Love's flygirls and b-boys inject "urban" Bronx-creole style and attitude, his singing comes straight from the annals of romantic R&B. Commercial bachata recordings are so smoothly tweaked nowadays that the live performance is a different experience entirely; the frenetic, in some ways mechanical, stage show devolved focus away from Love as a romantic persona, whose sexual energy onstage is more boy-band, more charming waif, than intensely hypnotic or commanding. By contrast, his rhythm section's mannish energy and muscularity is pure Dominicana, but there's nothing new about that.

This video of a bachata shows Love crafting his softer side. Without his dancers here, you can see how his band is put together and operates.

Softer side of Love from Santa Salsera on Vimeo.

Love was at his best when he dropped his romantic alter ego and turned the party crank, with some hyperactive merengue and rapidfire vocals:

Dame Agua from Santa Salsera on Vimeo.

The dance showcase that followed brought out another ancient piece of urban folklore: witty sexual hype. Here are three members of Love's crew "getting crazy":

Get Crazy #1 from Santa Salsera on Vimeo.

Get Crazy #2 from Santa Salsera on Vimeo.

Get Crazy #3 from Santa Salsera on Vimeo.


Read my concert review on the Indy online music blog SCAN
See photos from the live show posted earlier on Onda Carolina

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tiger Beat

More love for Los Tigres del Norte.

Some excellent photos from Friday's show by my colleague Juan Manuel Cortez, posted here with his permission. Juan is a photographer and digital artist from Colombia who freelances for Que Pasa and other local media. He's also a friend of the local music scene. Check out his professional website here.

Los Tigres by Juan

Now, a word or two must be said about my obsession with Los Tigres' sartorial splendor.

At this show, I was observing with considerable interest and admiration the fashion sense of this very youthful mexican-regional/norteño scene. I saw girls in the zip-up stiletto boots you see everywhere, but with western detailing. One young man who sticks out in my mind wore a light pinstripe suit, accessorized with a cowboy hat and belt in matching white (paging: Saturday Night Fever). Naturally cowboy hats were unisex, with girls often favoring the straw ones they wear to the beach. Men's shirts, hats and jewelry proudly proclaimed the Mexican state that they were from. These looks had spiffiness and self-confidence, dressed up to impress, with some of these items conveying caché as they are quite expensive (hats, belts and boots), yet still casual, mixed with items you can buy at the mall or la pulga.

As I was taking in the style sense of these Mexican teenagers and twenty-somethings, I was thinking, why doesn't someone rip this look for the catwalk?

Well, someone has.

Look closely at Los Tigres del Norte's bolero suits, seen in the 2008 publicity photo that leads the English portal to their website, which to my joy they wore for the show. Peacock blue, embroidered and "bedazzled" with hand-set rhinestones and floating jigsaw puzzle pieces of all the Mexican states. The back of the suits bear a Mexican flag, flowers, and "Mexico D.F." lettered across the shoulder blades.

When I received a brief audience with Don Jorge (applying his honorific prefix, as Los Tigres' elder statesman), I asked him: WHO made your suits, and how much did they cost?

The answer: Manuel of Nashville, the Mexican-born designer, now in his 70s, responsible for nearly every bedazzling piece of flamboyant Western wear to circulate in American culture since the '60s. Check out this website which has a fantastic video showing exactly how the clothes are made, and by whom. On Manuel's myspace, one modern celebrity says Manuel's clothes "feel like sex and money."

Don Jorge said he didn't know the actual cost of the suits, but with all the handiwork involved, he figured, "they must be pretty expensive, eh?" Charming man. He greeted me with an English "how are you?" and could not have been more gracious to me, not to mention to the innumerable fans who got photos and autographs that night.

Looking around for more about Manuel, the Mexican mastermind behind this bit of quintessential americana, I came across this 2005 exhibit at Nashville's Frist Center for the Visual Arts of 50 jackets designed to represent the American states. Clearly, this seems to be a prototype for the Los Tigres design, which was made to represent Mexico for their 2008 album of Mexican standards, Raices.

Do I dare go on about my obsession with Tigres bassist Hernán Hernández' distinctive, time-defying hairstyle? In the spirit of homage to Princess Sparkle Pony's photoblog of political hairdo gossip, I'm going to brave it.

the hair that roared
Photo credit: Juan Manuel Cortez

I have toyed with ways to name this 'do, and after meeting Hernán, I'm going with the Susan Sontag Mullet. It was only a handshake, but enough to confirm my suspicions that Hernán wears a nice cologne, and enjoys some special attention from female fans. Ladies Love Cool Hernán.

Although the much-scorned mullet has fallen onto ridicule and parody in (much of) U.S. culture, clearly there remains an enduring precedent and healthy respect for proud manes within the Mexican stylebook. As a calling card, it hearkens back to Mexico's indigenous subtext, as well as the anarchic genius for self-invention and self-rule demonstrated by her migratory children, epitomized in the lyrics of the Jose Alfredo Jimenez song "El Rey." Be he rich or poor, the man who wears the Susan Sontag Mullet this boldly is his own sort of king.

Links: a full frontal daylight pic of the 'do at Getty Images.

Reuters caught this intriguing glimpse of it.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Girlz Talk, Boys Cry

I'm not a big consumer of commercial bachata, but there is something exciting about seeing top Dominican performers and their bands live. They usually import the best guitarists and percussionists from the island. My plan tonight is to DVR the Oscars and see Toby Love at the Lincoln Theatre. There is an afterparty planned for Zydeco's.

Opening: Girlz Talk, with one of the former members of Aventura. They perform a bachata song with Love called "Tu y Yo."

Toby Love video single, "Llorar Lloviendo"

Toby Love concert at Lincoln Theatre.

UPDATE: Some show photos

Love onstage
Toby Love band
Octavio Rivera Jr. with dancers


Read my concert review on the Indy online music blog SCAN
See videos from the show posted here on Onda Carolina

RADIO ALERT (2/22): Sitar player Viswas Chitnis on WXDU TODAY

From Luke at WXDU:

"Sitar strummer extraordinaire Viswas Chitnis will be playing a somewhat abbreviated raga session tonight on our show at 6PM as well as answering our (and your) questions."

WHAT: Viswas Chitnis, musical guest (sitar)
WHEN: 6-7 pm, Sunday, 2/22
WHERE: WXDU 88.7 FM, live streaming via iTunes at

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tigritos vs. Yonics

More about the Los Tigres del Norte show coming's a peek at the merch table:

Los Tigres del Norte


Read my concert review in Indy online blog SCAN.

Los Yonics opened, they are a band of 10 from Acapulco fronted by father/son duo Jose Manuel Samacona and Jose Manuel Samacona Jr.. Their genre is Romantico (so says saxophonist Sanchez, who chatted with me backstage), but they incorporate various rhythms and styles including cumbia, durangense and tierra caliente. As indicated, they had a real brass section (trumpet, sax, two trombones) and two keyboardists, synthesizing other sounds like tuba and accordion. According to this video interview in Spanish with El Barrio, they are in their 33rd year, and the saxophonist I spoke to (seen in first photo below, second from right) has been with them for 17.

Los Yonics

Papa y Hijo

(click on to see larger photos)

Los Yonics wound up their set with a ranchera classic, Jose Alfredo Jimenez' "El Rey":

Los Yonics from Santa Salsera on Vimeo.
"Muy padre," as they said on La Ley.

UPDATE: Los Tigres

Here are Los Tigres del Norte doing their 1971 classic "Contrabando y Traícion" at last night's show:

Los Tigres del Norte from Santa Salsera on Vimeo.

And, a couple of short incidental videos -- this one shows more of Don Jorge's (in white hat) unique body language when he is singing corridos:

Body Language from Santa Salsera on Vimeo.

And this one shows women getting up onstage and posing for photos - without being whisked away by security! Los Tigres really love their fans:

Parade of Lovelies from Santa Salsera on Vimeo.

Read my concert review in Indy online blog SCAN.

Friday, February 20, 2009

TONIGHT! Los Tigres del Norte & Children of the Horn


Read my concert review in Indy online blog SCAN.

Tonight I will make my first encounter with Los Tigres del Norte, Mexico's godfathers of norteño, at Disco Rodeo in Raleigh. Opening bands, start time? Who knows, I'm trying to tune in to La Ley 96.9 FM to get more info. Will be checking it out for the Indy online music blog SCAN.

Update: Opening for Los Tigres: Los Yonics. Calls to the venue get you to a recording in Spanish: (919) 836-8535.

Perhaps on my way in to Raleigh, I'll stop by the North Carolina Art Museum's free After Hours party, 5:30-8:00 pm, featuring a Mardi Gras theme where Children of the Horn will be busting a Dixieland groove. Among los bravos in this band are Wayne Leechford, of Orquesta GarDel, trombonist Robo Jones who gigs with salsa bands from time to time, and Jim Crew and Ed Butler of ELM Collective. The museum will be open, and a cash wine/food bar awaits. See calendar for details!

Goodness grows in North Carolina: Children of the Horn crop up

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Salsa Museum interviews with Joe Cuba

This is dynamite: 3-part interview with Joe Cuba at the Salsa Museum. Conducted in a bilingual swim of Spanish and English.

Video credits: The Salsa Museum. Ca. 2001. Filmed by Armando Torres. Edited for Youtube by Ana Flores.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

R.I.P. Joe Cuba (1931-2009)

Gilberto "Sonny" Calderón, aka Joe Cuba, died on February 15.

Linking to a nice, personal reminiscence posted by blogger Bronxrumba about his first Joe Cuba album.

Another nice post on the same blog from Sentimiento Mañana, from a different generational perspective. Includes Aurora Flores' detailed write-up of Joe Cuba's career.

AP's obit in USA Today

I regret not having seen Joe Cuba on stage. The few times I was in New York it seemed he was always playing a gig somewhere, and for reasons of logistics or whatever, I just never got around to it. I should have gone to New York more often.

Off the top of my head, some of my favorite Joe Cuba songs are "El Pito ("I'll Never Go Back to Georgia)," (probably my favorite among the boogaloo classics such as "Bang Bang," etc.), and "Mi Jeva," "Salsa Ahi'Nama," and "Joe Cuba's Latin Hustle" all from the 1976 album Cocinando La Salsa.

Is this really the only live clip of Joe Cuba on YouTube? Surely that will change shortly:

Spot the Boogaloo dance step: at the beginning of the clip, 3 figures come on stage. First Joe Cuba, who goes to the congas far right, then right behind him Cheo Feliciano who goes to the center mic, then Jimmy Sabater, the lankier fellow who goes to the timbales. As they are walking out, singers Cheo and Jimmy are doing this groovy little slow/fast step (moving on: "1...and-3"). I have it on authority of some old Palladium dancers that that's the way they used to dance boogaloo.

As Aurora Flores pointed out, Joe Cuba pushed a unique sound because his band didn't use horns. Those trademark vibes, just a real simple piano montuno, an English coro that anyone can sing, and Latin soneos, created a laid-back, improvised groove. There is no story line, and the singer (here the great Cheo Feliciano) may play with the message or the sounds of the words in a stream of consciousness way. He says, "come and dance my cha cha cha," which technically you could do to a 4/4 bugalu rhythm. This 4/4 cha cha-like structure reinforcing the African-American boogaloo groove is a classic form of Latin fusion. "Cornbread y lechon," that's the spirit of Latin bugalu.

UPDATE - Links:

--David Gonzalez' first-hand account of wake for Joe Cuba in NYT
--Blog version from one-day earlier--more pictures, details, reader comments

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

give a little love

I was talking about the remarkable Iraqi oud player and human rights activist Rahim AlHaj with fellow blogger Robin, of The Holly Tree, and she sent me the link to this beautiful short documentary:

Fan of the oud? Go and see Naji tonight with ELM Collective.

update - Descarga en Roanoke

I have added a new video to the post about Sandoval's concert in Roanoke. See his sidemen sitting in with the afterparty band here. (Scroll to the bottom of the updated post to watch second video.)

Monday, February 16, 2009

ELM Collective FREE CONCERT Tuesday (2/17)

My new favorite world jazz collective will give a free, public concert at UNC this Tuesday (2/17):

WHAT: ELM Collective
WHEN: Tuesday (2/17), 7:30-10:00 pm
WHERE: Union Cabaret, Frank Porter Graham Student Union, UNC-Chapel Hill
COST: Free, open to the public

This Raleigh jazz ensemble includes more cosmopolitan influences than you can shake a stick at. Their main instruments are Middle Eastern oud, classical guitar, funk bass, drumset, Latin keyboard and accordion, flutes and World hand percussion.

As a teaser, here are some photos from a recent ELM Collective rehearsal I attended in the upstairs space at Marsh Woodwinds.
Frake and Alex
Percussionist Frake Hunsel, a Netherlander raised in Suriname, looks on as Ukrainian guitarist Alex Gorodezky works out an arrangement.

Baltimore-born drummer Ed Butler pulls something out of his bag of tricks:
Ed's bag of tricks

Click on for larger view:
Nadji and Ed
Alex, the Ukrainian Tiger
Marco leads rehearsal

Lights, camera, action:

ELM Collective from Santa Salsera on Vimeo.


Click here to see updated post on the 2/7 "Love in the Tropics" benefit at the Museum of Natural Science featuring Saludos Company. See photos from the party and meet a musician new to the Triangle, Victor Murillo.

Just Like Being There

Here is some footage I took of Sin Miedo, a D.C. band led by French pianist and vocalist Didier Prossaird, in Roanoke in late January. They played the afterparty for the Arturo Sandoval concert at the Jefferson Center. Three guys from a local college are doing Cuban line-dancing in front; the one with his hat on backwards is Cuban, the others are his proteges. I danced some rueda with them later on.

Sin Miedo from Santa Salsera on Vimeo.
Alfredo Mojica is the talented vocalist and timbalero; Rene Ibanez is on congas, Steve Sachse bass, Antonio Orta sax/flute, Scott Gearhart trumpet.

los tres
didn't show to the afterparty, but I brought along three of his Cuban sidemen--Philbert Armenteros, Manuel Valera and Alexis Arce (one of the "Pututis"). I have some more video of them sitting in with Sin Miedo... yet to come...

Sandoval after party

Pardon the shaky video (I'm new at this)--I wanted to edit this down but couldn't figure out what app I have that works, so, here is all 8 and a half minutes of descarga glory.

Descarga Cubana from Santa Salsera on Vimeo.

Solos: Antonio Orta - saxophone, Philbert Armenteros - congas, Alexis "Pututi" Arce - timbales.

You will see Didier directing his band, and Rene (a fellow Cubano, seen above with Philbert giving the thumbs up) setting up mics, etc. as Philbert takes the rumba seat, Pututi mans the timbales and Manuel works the keyboard like a gymnast. Hard to believe Valera's first instrument was saxophone until he came to the States in 1994! Some of you saw him here in October with Dafnis Prieto's spectacular sextet.

Related: More party photos by Garland Gay of the Roanoke Times

Post-Valentine for OC Readers

Asim Unplugged from Santa Salsera on Vimeo.

Here's a video I made of my friend Asim last night, on my way home from checking out Tropic Orchestra's debut. Asim works the night shift at the Town & Country on Dixon and University, when he is not playing Pakistani festivals with his band Dil Valay.

Backstory: how I met Asim.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day Roundup

Some Latin parties and events happening this weekend in honor of Valentine's Day--click on links to take you to more information:

--From Jason Laughlin of Tangophilia:
"Tangophilia's regular 2nd Saturday milonga at Triangle Dance Studio resumes this month with a Valentiney (sweets and winey) theme, and an introductory no partner required lesson at 8pm. Sunday afternoon, make a very short trip down to the Holly Springs Cultural Center to enjoy a special concert with Carolina Clarinet. Cecilia Pagani and I will be performing to the music of "History of Tango" by Astor Piazzolla and "It Takes 4 to Tango" by Daniel Dorff."

--From the Cobo Brothers:
Copa Night @ George's Garage
February 14th, 2009

"Everyone dressed in BLACK and/or RED will be entered into a raffle with a chance to WIN dinner for 2 at Parizade's Mediterranean Flavors at play Restuarant, tickets to Bachata Sensation "Toby Love" concert, gift certificate for Cobobrothers Dance Academy classes, and more to be confirmed."

George’s Garage
737 Ninth St.
Durham, NC 27705
Copa starts @ 11:00pm
21 & OVER
$12 Cover
$8 Ladies before 11:30 pm
Dressy Attire (at management discretion): No Jeans, Sneakers, Hats, or T-Shirts"

--From Salsa4You:
Romantic Evening Oasis Valentine's Event presented by Colorful Waves Belly Dance Troupe
"An oasis of dance! Gourmet Desserts and Coffees, Candle Light, Live Music and Special Showcase of Dance Performances.
Date: February 14, 2007
Time: 7:00 - 10:00
Where: Triangle Dance Studio (2603 S. Miami Blvd.)
Contact: 919-803-1281

--From Ricardo Diquez of the Tropic Orchestra:

"We cordially invite you to Valentine's Day with The Tropic Orchestra. Live music and DJ playing classic salsa and romantic favorites. Carmen's Cuban Cafe, 108 Factory Shops Rd, Morrisville (near the Airport and Outlet Mall).

--From Angie Xiomara at Triangle Salsa Meetup:
RUEDA Practice and Lessons
" is a group who loves to have fun and dance Casino Rueda. Our goal is to bring awareness. Lesson and practice will be at Triangle Dance Studio, Sunday, 4:30-6:00 pm, $5."

RADIO ALERT (2/14): Santa Salsera Plays Songs of Love...

Today I will be celebrating Valentine's Day (2/14) as your host on Mondo Mundo, WXDU's weekly world music show. Tune in for some salsa favorites and whatever other world music turns my head.

WHAT: Mondo Mundo (world music show)
WHEN: 1-3 p.m. SATURDAY (2/14)
WHERE: WXDU 88.7 FM and streaming online at

UPDATE: See archived playlist here.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cuban Party at Mosaic

Mosaic's Cuban night is TONIGHT, Thursday (2/12) and not next week, as I had mistakenly listed on the calendar. This has been corrected!

Don't miss Tambor Vivo's sets of live drumming @ 10:30 and 11:30 pm, with DJ'ed dance sets in between. FREE. See calendar for details.

(Last month's poster:)

UPDATE added Friday (2/13):

A pretty full house at Mosaic last night, although it's morphing into a different crowd from the one that started this party last summer. The sweaty, folkloric Paso crowd has stepped out of the limelight, and an elegant, nightclubbing mambo/salsa crowd has checked in. A little more South Beach, a little less Santiago de Cuba. Still, it was good to see the throng bringing mirth and revenue to the venue so that the (still free) event can continue.

People seem to enjoy hearing live drums, even if folkloric rhythms are a little esoteric for hardcore salsa addicts, some of whom matched salsa turns to Tambor Vivo's bell and drum patterns. The whole place got tribal to Jim's thundering cajon, and I did see some tight rumba moves on the floor. Mosaic's owner was snapping photos like crazy, so maybe some of those will turn up on their website soon?

DJ Keith has big ears, and is one of my faves for pushing the usual boundaries of taste in the club scene, by mixing Puerto Rican bombiplena with Cuban timba and Latin American viejoteca. Keith digs high energy tracks with lots of fire and pretty solos, like the pianos of Alfredo Rodriguez in Cubanismo's "Descarga de hoy" and Gilberto "Pulpo" Colon Jr. in a house remix of Hector Lavoe's "Alejate." Gorgeously atypical mixers included Roberto Roena's "Con los pobres estoy" and Mongo Santamaria's "Cuidado." I had the rare pleasure of dancing to Candido Fabre and other seldom-heard sounds. Keep bringing the love, Keith.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

"Love in the Tropics" Salsa Benefit TONIGHT (2/7)

Saludos Compay is made up of teachers, so its only natural they would perform at the annual benefit for Educators for Excellence at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh this Saturday (2/7). The fundraiser is billed as an "adults only, romantic evening" that includes music, salsa dancing, silent auction, tattoo parlor and other fun for grownups.

WHAT: "Love in the Tropics" fundraiser for Educators for Excellence
WHEN: Saturday, 2/7 at 7:30-10:30 p.m.
WHERE: NC Museum of Natural Sciences, 11 W. Jones St, Raleigh
TICKETS: $20 adults ($15 for friends of the Museum)
CONTACT: Liz Baird, 919.733.7450 x601

Saludos' newsletter says they will perform various types of Latin music as a quartet, with musicians Erich Lieth (piano), [CORRECTION added 2/16: Chuck Nolan played congas, Pablo Valencia did not perform], Lisa Lindsay (saxophone), and Victor Murillo. Wesley Boz of Mad About Dance is slated to give a salsa lesson, and Paso dancers Eduardo Winston will lead a demo with their students, pledging to get the audience involved.

UPDATE Added 2/16:

Some photos from the party (click on to see larger):

Eric Lieth takes a solo
Love in the Tropics benefit

Chuck Nolan (in his Obama logo hat) makes the most of his set up, with a block pedal for marking clave.
Chuck's set up

I got to meet Victor Murillo for the first time (seen here on guitar, with Lisa Lindsay, saxophone). The Ecuadorian multi-instrumentalist moved to Chapel Hill last year from Austin, TX and has been playing with Saludos Compay since August.
Victor Murillo and Lisa Lindsay
Victor retains some high-profile gigs as a sideman, touring with artists such as Mexican pop vocalist Christian Castro. He has his own series of New Age/Andean CDs, and provides music at various restaurants around Durham. You can find Victor at Blue Corn on Tuesday nights until 8:30 pm, and Tosca's on Wednesdays until 9 pm. Find out more at his myspace page.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Salsa Sunday at Rumba 54

Rumba 54 (the old Montas Lounge) has converted pretty thoroughly on peak weekend nights to a young Latin scene, complete with long lines and sonic domination by the latest in reggaeton/house blends.

For old school salsa lovers though, Betto Herrera is reviving the Sunday salsa social at this venue, a tradition going back to the days when it was Montas Lounge.

TONIGHT (2/1):
Rumba 54 (2223 E. Hwy 54)
Sundays, 6:00-10:30 pm.
FREE; an optional lesson at 6 pm costs $5.

Betto says the party, which started shortly before Christmas, is picking up steam. The director of Mambo Dinamico Dance Company, Betto also organizes a very popular Tuesday social at Carmen's Cuban Cafe. See calendar for details.