November « 2008 « Salsa Addiction Centre
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    Guerra Musical….DLG face-off

    Hola de nuevo, salseros!

    DLG, or Dark Latin Groove, is a salsa ensemble that creates a very modern, enjoyable brand of salsa. The band originally comprised of 3 singers, Huey Dunbar, Fragancia, and James ‘Da Barba’ de Jesus. They had many hits including, ‘No morira’(it will not die), ‘Volvere’ (I’ll return), and ‘Todo Mi Corazon’ (all my heart) to name a few. After a successful run, the lead singer (Dunbar) decided to pursue a solo career and the band disassembled. In 2007 the band was re-introduced with de Jesus returning along with a female lead vocalist, Yahaira Vargas. They continue to put out great music (I recommend you check out their version of the Peruvian folksong ‘Toro Mata’ [the bull kills] done to salsa) but the songs that will battle here are from the Dunbar days.

    The contenders:
    1. Todo de Ti. DLG; album “Swing On” (1997).
    2. Es Una Promesa. DLG; album “Swing On” (1997).

    Right off the bat these songs both sound like they won’t build up to the usual quick pace of DLG songs but they both nicely work in the salsa feel into the ballad-like intro. These are love songs, meant to be tender and full of adoration. Todo De Ti means ‘All of you’ whereas Es Una Promesa translates to ‘It’s a promise.’ Both are very sweet songs, just see for yourself.

    All of you

    In this dwelling that looks out at the city
    Even when I’m alone I don’t miss the ocean
    I sail travel through your eyes no matter what

    I just have to close my eyes to feel as if I have all of you

    All of your kisses, your gentle laugh
    All of your breath, your passionate love
    Your entire body burns against mine
    When I remember you again, my love

    In this great city my life passes by alone
    In this solitude I’ve learned to love you in any way

    I just have to close my eyes to feel as if I have all of you

    All of your kisses, your gentle laugh
    All of your breath, your passionate love
    Your entire body burns me again
    When I remember you again, my love

    It’s a promise

    I can’t live without you; you are my everything

    Give me your permission, please, and I’ll die in your gaze
    It will be an engagement from me to be driven crazy
    Crazy with love and from my heart I’ll make you a promise

    To fall in love with you more every day is a promise
    To not be able to live without you again is a promise
    To always take you with me in my soul and dreams is a promise

    I just need for you to also offer me
    At least a bit of your wine and strawberries
    And I’ll be crazy with love and from my heart I’ll make you a promise

    It’s a promise to fall in love with you
    I promise to give you all of me (sing it)

    Just can’t live without you

    I also can’t live without you
    And without you I swear I’ll die
    Because this man enjoys his time with you

    Because you are what I want most
    And all I want is to give myself to you
    Take you to heaven and give you the stars
    I will be your king and you will be my queen
    Come closer to me, I ask you not to leave me
    I promise to love you however you wish

    So, as you can see, these songs are expressions of love spoken in a way anyone who’s been in love can relate to. The feelings are raw, simple, powerful and, at times, full of longing. I think one of the reasons these songs connect so well with the listener is that the sentiments expressed are universal and familiar to all of us. Now, let’s move on to the judging.

    Sound of the song

    DLG’s sound tends toward a more pop/hip-hop style of salsa. Having said that, both songs have a similar sound yet are all their own. ‘Todo de ti’ has a section about 3 and a half minutes in that slows down and maintains the faint salsa rhythm which transits nicely into a salsa crescendo. ‘Todo de ti’ is also a slower song. Compare with ‘Es una promesa’ and you’ll see that that one has a more driving beat. On their own each song is very enjoyable but when heard back-to-back I find that ‘Es una promesa’ stands out more (at least in my opinion). Having said that, my vote goes to ‘Es una promesa’ by a score of 4.5-3.5.


    Based on my above assessment, this verdict will be a result of my personal taste in the tempo of a salsa song. When it comes to very quick versus slower, I prefer slower. However, when both songs are mid-tempo, I prefer songs that are instrumentally more complex. I enjoy the driving rhythm of ‘Es una promesa’ and find it overall more intriguing. Therefore, my verdict once again goes to ‘Es una promesa’ by a score of 4.5-4.

    Musical and lyrical sync

    As usual, this will be the most difficult category to judge. ‘Todo de ti’ is a supplication, a longing for someone. In a way, these songs are a before and after. ‘Todo de ti’ is the original question, asking someone to give of themselves. It is hopeful and therefore more under control, slower. ‘Es una promesa’ is like the promise the person makes when the other has answered their question in a positive way. In that scenario, there is an overwhelming joy, triumph, victory in the first. This makes the tone more excited, as the first is filled with joy at the answer and wishes to assure the second that everything will be better. Seen in this context, both songs are perfectly suited with the sound of the music. I really enjoy these two songs as a call and answer. My verdict is a draw, 5-5.


    These are solid, enjoyable songs full of emotion. On their own they are probably pedestrian salsa beats but as a set they are quite extraordinary. The numbers decide this winner and that song is…’Es una promesa’ by a score of 14-12.5.

    Hasta la proxima,

    Sigan Bailando!


    Milton Nascimento & the Jobim Trio

    In the late 1950′s and early 1960′s a new fusion of samba and jazz was born in Brazil. This music came to be know as Bossa Nova (“new trend” in portuguese). In its purest form, bossa nova consists of a classical guitar played without a pick and laying the music for the vocals. Larger ensembles use piano and some percussion to produce a very relaxed, swaying rhythm. We’ve all heard the style (and in case you’re not sure, I’m sure you can all recognize this standard “the girl from Ipanema”). Among the pioneers of this genre was Antonio Carlos Jobim and it is his son, Paulo Jobim (guitar), grandson, Daniel Jobim (piano), and long time collaborator, Paulo Braga (percussion), that accompany Milton Nascimento. Mr. Nascimento is himself a legend of bossa nova and a Grammy award winning artist. With this in mind, I was very excited to attend this concert.

    The crowd at Massey Hall was upbeat and full of anticipation for this performance and I can honestly say that the act did not disappoint. A fear of mine was how much of this ‘elevator music’ could I handle, however, it really is difficult to not be caught up in the addictive rhythm of bossa nova. The stage had a very simple set up, just the musicians at their instruments creating music which is actually quite fitting for the feel of the music. Even Mr. Nascimento was very calm and relaxed on stage, limiting his movements to playful interactions with his band. Among the most enjoyable parts was simply the sound of his voice (here’s a taste). His voice is really a treat for music lovers in general.

    I went in expecting to hear a full concert of a certain kind of bossa nova (I suppose it could be called the mainstream sound) but was surprised to hear songs with a much different sound. As my friend put it, it was almost like listening to the radio at times. What this meant is that some of the songs in the set did indeed sound like modern soul music. While still nice in sound, it was something that for the bossa nova novice (like myself) I could have done without. Still, the material was well balanced and the concert was extremely enjoyable as a whole. One thing I must warn about is that Mr. Nascimento’s singing is not overpowering and blends almost perfectly into the music. This is the style of the genre but does make distinguishing lyrics a little difficult at times. It is easy to understand the appeal of Milton Nascimento and bossa nova as a whole. After a long week of work this was the perfect concert to just sit back, enjoy and unwind to.

    Hasta la proxima.

    Sigan bailando!