...A Look at The Origins of Mambo.
Mambo is one of the greatest Latin music rhythms ever created. Originally from Cuba, this genre was also responsible for shaping the sounds of modern Salsa music. The following is a brief introduction to the history of Mambo.
Danzon and The Roots of Mambo
Back in the 1930s, Cuban music was heavily influenced by Danzon. This music style, which appeared in the late 19th century, bore lots of similarities to the original and melodic Cuban Danza.
One of the popular bands at that time was the orchestra of Arcaño y sus Maravillas. The band played lots of Danzon but some of its members introduced variations to the classic beat of Danzon. The members were the brothers Orestes Lopez and Israel "Cachao" Lopez. In 1938, they produced a Danzon single entitled Mambo.
The Lopez brothers incorporated a heavier African beat into their music. This new type of Danzon, which is at the base of Mambo music, was known at that time as Danzon de Nuevo Ritmo. Sometimes, it was simply called Danzon Mambo.
Perez Prado and The Birth of Mambo
Although the Lopez brothers set the basics of Mambo, they really did not move forward with their innovation. In fact, it took a couple of decades for the new style to be able to transform itself into Mambo.
The popularity of Jazz music and the big band phenomenon of the 1940s and 1950s played a major role in the development of Mambo. Damaso Perez Prado, a talented pianist from Cuba, was the one who was able to consolidate the definitive arrangements that pushed Mambo music into a worldwide phenomenon.
Perez Prado moved to Mexico in 1948 and built his career in that country. In 1949, he produced two of his most famous pieces: "Que Rico Mambo," and "Mambo No. 5." It was with these two singles that the mambo fever hit the 1950s. Around that time, the famous Cuban artist Beny More joined the Perez Prado band in Mexico recording enduring tracks like "Bonito y Sabroso."
Tito Puente and The Mambo After Perez Prado
By the mid 1950s, Perez Prado was already a huge point of reference for Latin music all over the world. However, at that time Perez Prado was criticized for producing music that was moving away from the original sounds of Mambo.
Because of this, that decade saw the birth of a new wave of artists willing to preserve the original sounds of Mambo. Artists such as Tito Rodriguez and Tito Puente consolidated the original Mambo sound that Perez Prado had previously created.
During the 1960s, Tito Puente became the new king of Mambo. However, that decade was defining a new kind of music of which Mambo was just one of the ingredients. The new sounds that were coming from New York were creating something much bigger: Salsa music.
The Legacy of Mambo
The 1950s and 1960s saw the golden years of Mambo. Nevertheless, those golden years were rapidly overcome by the development of Salsa, a new crossover experiment that borrowed elements from different Afro-Latin rhythms like Son, Charanga, and, of course, Mambo. The deal at that time was not about improving Mambo but rather using it to better develop Salsa.
All things considered, Salsa is probably Mambo's most enduring contribution to Latin music. The influence of Mambo in Salsa is a significant one. For Salsa, the idea of having a full orchestra comes from Mambo. Besides Salsa, Mambo also played a significant role in the development of another popular Cuban invention: Cha Cha Cha.
Although Salsa finished with the golden years of Mambo, this genre is still quite alive in ballroom dance competitions all over the world. Thanks to Mambo, Latin music gained lots of exposure around the world during the 1950's and 1960s. Thanks to Mambo, Salsa and Cha Cha Cha were born. For everything it accomplished, Mambo is definitely one of the most successful creations in Latin music.
Besides the JUANES MTV Unplugged album, Latin music is also celebrating this week the release of one of the most interesting works of Salsa. Cheo Feliciano and Ruben Blades, two of the best Salsa singers in history, have just released their collaboration album Eba Say Aja.
The album, which includes 12 tracks, features a unique work where Cheo Feliciano sings some of the most popular tracks from Ruben Blades while the Panamanian singer does the same with some of the most famous tunes from the Puerto Rican legend. In addition to this, Cheo Feliciano also sings "Inodoro Perez," a new track written by Ruben Blades for this production.
The two singers joined their voices in the tracks "Si Te Dicen" and "Lo Bueno Ya Viene." Some of the songs on this album include titles such as "Dime," "Sin Tu Carino" and "Los Entierros." If you are into Salsa music or want to further explore this exciting Latin music genre, this is definitely the kind album that you want to get.
After the tremendous popularity they enjoyed with Entren Los Que Quieran, an album that swept the Latin Grammy Awards last year, the members of the Latin Urban sensation band Calle 13 are already working on their next album. This time, the big news about the upcoming production is that Calle 13 is recording in English.
Because of this project, the members of Calle 13, Rene Perez (Residente) and Eduardo Cabra (Visitante) have already reduced their public schedule in 2012. In any case, the group is planning to give a concert in Puerto Rico where they will probably use the stage to speak up about their country's social and political environment.
The news about Calle 13 recording in English is something quite interesting. This is, in fact, a big challenge for a popular band like Calle 13. Having said this, what do you think about Calle 13 recording in English? If you have something to say about it, I invite you to share your thoughts here.
Prince Royce - 'Phase II' CD Review: A Look at The Second Album Produced by The Bachata Sensation ArtistRead Now
Very often, artists who reach star level with a debut album fail miserably with the follow up work. Avoiding this trap was exactly the challenge that Phase II posed to the popular Bachata singer Prince Royce. After listening to Phase II, I think Prince Royce was able to meet that challenge with a production that consolidates the style of his self-titled debut album. The following is an overview of the way he managed that challenge.
Keeping The StylePhase II is an album that maintains the style Prince Royce consolidated with his previous work. This 'conservative' approach usually pays well for artists who hit the market with a hugely popular debut album. Just like the previous album, Phase II is a bilingual production defined by its romantic appeal.
Thanks to songs like the already popular hit "Las Cosas Pequenas" and additional singles such as "Eres Tu," "Dulce" and "Mi Habitacion," Prince Royce is able to reinforce a unique style defined by his fresh voice, romantic style, and soft Bachata arrangements.
Innovative Stuff Although Phase II maintains the style that Prince Royce has been defining since its debut work, there are a couple of songs featuring innovative elements that enhance the appeal of the whole album. One of them is "Incondicional," a single featuring a nice mix of traditional Mexican music with Bachata. Even though the sounds of Bachata prevails in the whole melody, the guitars and trumpets in the background add a nice flavor to this song.
Another interesting song is "Memorias," a track that combines Bolero with Bachata that reminds me of some of the famous Bachata-Bolero songs produced by Juan Luis Guerra. Both "Incondicional" and "Memorias" provide very romantic lyrics. This romanticism is one of the most evident imprints of this production.
Bachata Pop Phase II is marked by a sound where very often Bachata meets Latin Pop music. There is a good amount of tracks on this album that could easily make it to the top 40 charts as Pop songs rather than Bachata tracks.
Some of these singles include titles like "Addicted," "Close To You" and "It's My Time". In fact, if you listen to these songs without knowing who Prince Royce is, you would not be able to guess this is an album dealing with Bachata music.
Although I personally like the soft melody and nice guitar playing of the song "Addicted," I think the other tracks represent the weakest side of this album. They sound a bit too mainstream and commercial to me. I think there are thousands of songs out there with the beats of those tracks. In other words, I think Prince Royce is as his best when he gets closer to the sounds of Bachata.
'Phase II' - Bottom Line I think the most important thing Prince Royce achieved with Phase II was that of producing an album capable of meeting the expectations that he created with his debut album. With Phase II, the Bachata star consolidated his unique style and I would not be surprised if several of the tracks included on this album become hit songs in the near future.
Somehow, Phase II sounds a bit more Pop than Prince Royce. This element is reinforced by tracks that have a very mainstream, commercial style. Although I think this is the weakest part of this album, this can be normal for an artist who has transformed Bachata music into a mainstream phenomenon.
'Phase II' - Best Tracks
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