Beatmatching salsa (and bachata) music: yay or nay?

Discussion in 'Salsa Music' started by khabibul35, Dec 11, 2015.

  1. khabibul35

    khabibul35 Tumbao

    I learned to dance in the San Francisco bay and the DJs there never beatchmatched and even the crossfade was done rarely and when done it was in a way that let one song end clearly so you could say thanks and look for another dance.

    Here in Zurich I see a lot of DJs not playing the last few notes of the songs and crossfading songs together. I've found it a bit more chaotic to say thanks and bye and so on. Also, by cutting off the last notes, I feel like I sometimes miss out on the signature part of the song and the dramatic ending. It feels like a bummer. A few times they've even beatmatched which confuses everyone as to whether we should change partners or continue since the beat never breaks. I tend to say thanks, but newer follows will sometimes not notice the change and feel like I'm dumping them half-way through the song. In these cases, only about half the people leave the dancefloor.

    To me, it seems to that by trying to show of their DJ skills, the DJs are doing more harm than good but I'm curious what other people think. I'd especially like to know about the DJing culture around where you all live and what people go for.

    PS - Can the Zurich DJs playing Cuban music stop playing "Conga Tour" every night and several times per night?
  2. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    If most people are dancing in groups forming circles (i.e. they not dancing in couples) and it's a Latin night not a salsa night then mixing is advisable. If it's a salsa night but the majority of the dancers expect mixing - ditto, but such situations are very rare (probably only in Latin clubs stateside). In any other scenario imo mixing should be avoided.

    What I really can't stand is when someone doesn't mix but just bleeds the beginnings and ends of each tune together, completely out of time, which I think is described above.
    Slowdance, Smejmoon and matty like this.
  3. Atomico

    Atomico Son

    I say nay!
  4. I just experienced this recently. I didn't even know the song was ending and when to dip the follow! So I say nay!
    Slowdance likes this.
  5. El Caobo

    El Caobo Maestro 'Salsa' Palmieri


    MAMBO_CEC Sabor Ambassador

  7. El Minotauro

    El Minotauro Sonero

  8. matty

    matty Shine Officer

    people who feel strongly about it normally are against it

    I dont mix Salsa generally but at a Latin night, I often mix the Bachata & other Latin music
    I might loop the conga of a salsa track and mix out of a Reggaeton and then let the full salsa track play. The reason for this is because some of the people who get on the floor when I play Reggaeton will leave the floor when Salsa is played, by mixing in that one Salsa, you get to keep them on the floor for at least one more song, possibly longer :D

    to me the song selection comes first and then the possibility of mixing comes next.

    I also know another Salsa vinyl DJ who blends the beginning and ends of the songs, he doesn't overlap too much, but just a little, to avoid the gap of silence. i think its fine especially since he plays real good quality music.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2015
    Slowdance likes this.
  9. El Caobo

    El Caobo Maestro 'Salsa' Palmieri

    I guess I should clarify that I mix everything except salsa (bachata, cha-cha-cha, merengue). It has been some time since I last needed to spin reggaeton, but I have it and of course would mix it too.

    Just NEVER salsa. I used to quite a while ago, but there are people who are so strongly against it that they outway the benefits of doing it. I could certainly do it; especially now that there are a lot of songs with intros and outros for that very reason. Still, I don't do it.
    I've had some people tell me that I should handle bachata the same way, but for me, bachata will always be just a filler, so blending a pair of them together isn't a big deal. So, I continue to mix bachata.
    Nuyorican and Abayarde like this.
  10. groovetpt

    groovetpt Capitán Del Estilo

    As a musician playing live music I have an issue when there is too much silence/gap between songs. It can be awkward and sometimes embarrassing because it can last for a minute or more. Someone ( preferably the lead singer ) has to talk to the crowd and engage them during this time. Some are great at this -- a perfect example is Luisito Carrion.
    Smejmoon, Abayarde and matty like this.
  11. Abayarde

    Abayarde Capitán Del Estilo

    not my cup of tea. advice: don't even try to mix both on a event full of Salsa Dura fans.
    Nuyorican, lidiap, MAMBO_CEC and 2 others like this.
  12. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    Yeah, the difference is enormous between bands who can maintain the groove, the emotion and the bands who stop, talk, retune instruments, advertise and only then keep playing.

    I remember first time seeing Manu Chao live, I was so impressed. They don't have problem of people not being engaged or not dancing, because they don't stop engaging and dancing themselves.

    But with regard to mixing. Please don't do it. Though many good DJs mix, they just mix it in the way people don't notice ;)
    Slowdance and El Caobo like this.
  13. that is cool !
  14. El Caobo

    El Caobo Maestro 'Salsa' Palmieri

    Yes, sir! That is one of my pet peeves! I totally agree with you, groovetpt!

    I have another pet peeve related to bands. When a DJ is spinning before the band starts, the band members should not be tuning up their instruments while the DJ is spinning! This is seriously disrespectful to the DJ! It seems that some musicians believe that they are playing with the music, so it is no big deal. It always sounds intrusive! It is always a big deal!

    Whatever adjustments musicians have to make in order to perform should be done during their sound check. If musicians just have to do some last mintue tune-ups, they should do it after the DJ stops. When the DJ stops, they can then take all the time they want, on their own time, to make the adjustments. Stepping on the DJs music is a horrible thing to do!

    A related issue is that of telling the DJ, "We're ready, so stop your music NOW." It would be much more courteous to say, "We are going to start after the current song." It is much more professional for a song to play until the end, rather than fade it. It's a very simple thing, but it is surprising how many bands don't get it! We DJs respect bands and know that if there were no bands, there would be no DJs! However, we would like bands to respect the job that we do, as much as we respect the job that they do. We just need to know when we should play the last song; either we should know in advance, or whenever the band is ready, but we should not be expected to fade out a song.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2016
  15. Groove On

    Groove On Sonero

    For Afro-Latin music - NAY! To me beat-matching doesn't make sense with Afro-Latin music because the importance of the percussion is completely different than in the Western approach to music. So matching the beat will have a different effect.

    Beat-matching makes sense in Western style music, where the percussion is "just a track" that highlights and acts as the stage for the bass/melody/vocals. You can switch out the drum track in Western songs and still basically have the same song. (on a side note, that's how we get all this crappy Western style Salsa - the remixers think it's just adding a Salsa drum track and now it's Salsa.)

    But for me, the musicians in Afro-Latin music treat everything in reverse. The living, breathing, ever-changing percussion is the song, and all the other parts (bass, melody, vocals) just hang on for dear life, while the percussion tells the story. In Afro-Latin music, you can change out the bass, melody, vocals and still basically have the same song. But the minute you change the percussion in an Afro-Latin song, it's not the same song anymore.

    To me it's just a different way of looking and approaching music, where Western style music is easily beat-matched, while Afro-Latin style of music resists beat-matching.
    Nuyorican, lidiap and El Caobo like this.
  16. El Caobo

    El Caobo Maestro 'Salsa' Palmieri

    You're so right! Beat matching Salsa is another no-no! DJs who only include Salsa in what really is a Latin urban party can do it. At a true Salsa party, doing so would make you very unpopular. It's The same now with bachata. I used to use dj versions, with intros and intros, to mix Bachata. My mixes were seamless. Nevertheless, the feedback from the bachateros was much like that from the Salseros. So, I stopped doing it.

    Mixing is fun when you know how to do it, but not all scenarios call for it. Despite how much I live to mix, I now save it for private parties; when there are fewer "dancers."
  17. Nuyorican

    Nuyorican Son Montuno

    Definitely Nay!

    This is also how I view it but never heard it put this way. Great post!

    The Drum = La Lengua

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