If you had the options of a party with great dance performers or one with a great salsa band...

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by granrey, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. granrey

    granrey Son Montuno

    *ormers = performers. sorry for typo.

    which party would you go?

    years ago I would have said a party with a great salsa band or singer (grupo niche, gran combo, etc).

    I'm becoming suspicious that people would prefer to see "salsa performers" to learn something as the dance might be more important than the music, lyrics aspect.

    I'm saying this because performers seem very famous these days compared to musicians and singers.

    the other day a mid level salsa star singer was here in my city but it went almost unnoticed.

    however, if it had been Terry the salsa performer. I bet it would had been a huge event.
  2. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'El Diferente' Canales

    The band every time.
    matty and SnowDancer like this.
  3. Tomm

    Tomm Sonero

    Also Band every time
  4. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    I don't know where you're based but in Europe, the number of salsa singers/musicians who are able to make a living from their art must be miniscule. Whereas there have been literally 1000s of salsa instructors who have been able to make a living from classes over the last decade or 2. Likewise loads of times people have complained to me about the music at a salsa event, yet they return time and time again. Why? Because it's busy, and it has the dancers they want to dance with.

    Or in other words: the music is really not that important for most people on the salsa scene. Look at the lineup at European salsa congresses: bands are rare, and often those who do play are local no-name covers acts. Nothing wrong with that, but the bands who are good enough to make albums are getting very little support from the salsa scene. It's economics: their presence at a congress simply will not persuade many people to attend, whereas booking an instructor will. Considering that many salseros have been taking classes for over a decade, personally I don't see why these people are so desperate to take even more classes, yet they are unable to support the great bands out there.

    I notice La Máxima 79 are making their debut gig in the UK in January. On the one hand it's great that they'll be coming over here, otoh it's quite incredible that a band of their stature with 2 massive albums to their name, and who are from and based in Italy, have not played every country in Europe. I'm sure they've played in Colombia, which is a hell of a lot more of an expensive journey from Italy.
  5. Chris_Yannick

    Chris_Yannick Rhythm Deputy

    Band every time and it's not even close. My first ever salsa congress I went to had Ray de la Paz... it was also the last time I saw a band perform live at a congress or festival. It's quite baffling how a festival organizer will invite 60+ dance companies and artists from around the world to perform and not have a live band. I can't stand festivals that have turned into showcases for competitions and amateur/semi-pro/pro performers. I understand a congress is a good place to do this and probably generates more ticket sales, but it makes me to never want to attend any festival ever again. My ideal festival would have a couple of bands, a few DJs and maybe one artist/performer who better be world class and who likes to social dance. Absolutely zero competitions and no special snowflake performers who think they are bigger than they really are. One can only dream.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
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  6. MrR

    MrR Son Montuno

    The band of course

    Most performances are a waste of life time for me. Most bands are fun.
    When performances are going on I usually leave the room but I drive quite some time to be dancing to some mediocre band with other people who simply love to dance.
    Smejmoon likes this.
  7. LarsM

    LarsM Tumbao

    Performances are usually a net negative for me, so guess that makes it pretty clear. Sibenik got it right imo, 30 mins or so and only top notch artists, and say 2 (?) hours of the band.
    Smejmoon likes this.
  8. granrey

    granrey Son Montuno

    This is actually my conclusion. However, I do believe bringing a band is way more expensive than bringing a couple of dancers. At the same time a single singer with no band (bringing recorded music and just sing live ) should be competitive and profitable compared to a dance performer but this does not seem to be true in reality.

    Which is pretty sad. However, I do admit people outside latin America probably, people just like the dancing aspect of salsa. I guess it has something to do with salsa not being popular music.
  9. bailar y tocar

    bailar y tocar Clave Commander


    But it is tough for the organizers. Bands cost wayyyyy more money than a couple of dancers. There is the fee, the travel, the instrument rental, the sound system rental and then there is the manager's or agent's fee for the famous bands like Gran Combo, New Swing Sextet and famous singers like Oscar d'Leon or Ismael Miranda.
    Dancers don't need a special sound board and sound system or instruments, their travel costs are often much lower since they may make a tour out of a gig and they represent themselves.
  10. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    True but a band goes a lot further than a dancer. What I mean is: look at congress line ups and there are loads of instructors on the line up. If it were a music-based scene, they could put one decent band on a night, plus a few DJs, and maybe a less well known band each afternoon too, and they would be fine.

    Also, if bands were more popular then every country that has a salsa scene would have a thriving live music scene, which could provide quality local bands (meaning less expenses). Also if bands were more popular then new school artists like La Máxima or Moncho Rivera or Cubanoson (random examples), and/or old school artists like La Sonora Ponceña or La Charanga América (random examples), could come to Europe and play elsewhere in the country and in other European countries, because there would be a demand for them. Thus subsidising the cost of each gig.

    Another problem is the style of salsa that is fashionable today cannot cope with long salsa songs. Look at the old school NY dancers in any Taino Towers video and they can easily dance to a 10 minute song. Despite being mostly geriatrics. Yet today's salsa dancers are incapable of doing that (or at least cannot do it with pleasure even though most spend vast amount of time and money, over vast periods of time, on dance lessons and workshops). Consequently some of the best old school bands NY has to offer, many of whom are not big enough to charge loads of money, would not be well-received by many of today's salsa dancers.

    True, a good salsa band is aware of dancers' needs. But I wonder how well this band, with a 9 minute song, would be received in a congress environment?:
  11. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    In other words, many salsa dancers do like a live band, and will even pay a little extra for one, but it is not a deal breaker. Whereas dance lessons are considered essential. That's what makes the band so expensive, because the promoter still has to hire instructors as well.

    It's simple economics reflecting the priorities of people on the salsa scene. Music is of less importance therefore DJs, many of whom get paid very little (or even have to pay to play - apparently this has occurred in at least one congress) can provide the music. If people like the music great, if not well they'll probably come back anyway, so it's not really an issue.
  12. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    And in the States in many cases , exactly the opposite !
  13. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    You talkin about me ?.. :rolleyes::D:D
    DJ Yuca likes this.
  14. Tomm

    Tomm Sonero

    Iam not a huge fan of this... especially not if it's advertised as live music.... I'd prefer 2 percussionist (timbales and conga/bongo) playing along to records...
    Smejmoon likes this.
  15. Tomm

    Tomm Sonero

    A trend in Europe seems to be to ditch the traditional congress setting and moving to a pure social dance setting, called marathon... No Workshops, no shows, just social dancing. i think its a mov einto the right direction, they just need to add live mjusic into the mix :)
    Berlin also offered socialdancing from 4pm to 9 pm
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  16. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    A live singer with pre-recorded backing tracks is a bit cheap for a congress. But the problem with DJs with live percussion is that the tracks already have loads of percussion on them. So whilst one live player can be nice, any more may be over-egging the pudding.

    Also I have heard live percussion, on a number of occasions, from people who have literally no idea of the basics of Afro-Cuban percussion. They weren't shy about playing either: jamming on every track, from start to finish.
    Cenicienta, timberamayor and LarsM like this.
  17. wol

    wol Sonero

    There is no comparison. Band of course. 99% of involved in my salsa scene would vote the same. But we had live salsa band exactly once during last 4 -5 years. That is a curse of small scenes. You need general public to be interested in latin music, which is not the case. And there is no sufficient numbers of salsa dancers to pay for the band ... Hmm, is there anyone who would be willing to pay to watch performances?
    Smejmoon likes this.
  18. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'El Diferente' Canales

    I'd prefer just a DJ to paying to see karaoke or people playing along to the track. Campana or claves or congas etc happens a lot unfortunately and the audio usually overpowers the actual song (which is bad ie the over powering not the song) and half the time the performers aren't as good as they think and really make the whole experiences worse. I mean hell, a DJ I could just take the mike and sing along the whole song - but would people really appreciate that? For me either a live band or just stick to the DJ no frills. The original recordings are fine as they are. One won't make them better by banging on a campana.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  19. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'El Diferente' Canales

    yeah congresistos much more focused on dance than music and there have been congresos that stopped booking live bands due to complaints form the dancers. Maybe a congreso with taht type of ambiance should be clear to the bands that - "No improv, no soneos - just plays the short version of all yours ongs". I am one of the people who enjoys the improv and soneos and the interaction with the audience, but in the congreso format I would be the minority I think.
  20. Offbeat

    Offbeat Maestro 'El Diferente' Canales

    60+ dance companies are a profit. Band is a big expense.

    Other than Seattle every congress in USA I attended has been headlined by at least three bands. A couple of them are always guaranteed to be big name bands. I must have danced to new swing sextet at least a dozen times if not more - in local clubs, salsa festivals and non salsa festivals. Same with El Gran Combo (at least half a dozen times) and others. Similarly Eddie Palmierie, whose music is usually more on the jazz end of the spectrum. And I am not a salsa music enthusiast, generally speaking (i.e., I am not listening to it outside of dancing).

    To answer OP’s question, the band of course. There is an assumption that the band is at least decent and not some out of synch type (heard tons of those too).

    The OP didn’t say whether the band was playing at a concert event (less or no focus on dancing) or dance event. It still wouldn’t change my answer, but the dynamics are different. I like live music, irrespective of genre.

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