Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Favorite Songs: A Couple More

Sam (via a comment) asked me about more tunes, so here are a couple which come to mind. One of my blocks is many of my salsa tunes have Spanish titles, and so while I know a hundred tunes by sound, I often have no idea what they are named. If I’d simply get off my tail end and improve my Spanish, this wouldn’t be an issue, but today it is. Check these out and I’ll do my homework to get you more.

I love this tune off the "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights" soundtrack called "Do You Wanna Dance" (The big band version, not the one by Mya). It's available for about a buck on Buy.com (take the link on the song to hear a sample). It should be available via iTunes and/or the other major sites, but I didn't check to verify it's there.

I found the alternate version with vocals on YouTube and I'm including it below. It's a nice tune but it doesn't compare to the big band version referenced above.

Do You Wanna Dance - Mya
A nice video, but not the music version I'm referencing above.

If you want some great music and are into slower cha-cha-cha (almost a bolero feel), you have to get one of my favorite tunes called "Welcome to My Empire - (English)" by La India (AKA India). This is the title track from a movie named Empire: Two Worlds Collide. It's an excellent example of a tune which builds like making love, and every dancer should study this tune and feel the mood the musicians create. The song is a perfect model for great dancing, music, art or love.

Welcome to My Empire is one of those I have listened to over a hundred times, and I can leave it for a few weeks and listen again without getting bored. The horn arrangements are excellent, the rhythm section is rock solid and she sings with incredible passion.

It's also extremely dynamic. If I start with the introduction at a medium volume, by the end it's simply too loud. This is a tune to enjoy on a premium sound system, as the band is burning, and the dynamic range creates intense emotions if you have the system to support it. The problem is I haven't been able to find a source for the MP3 file without buying the complete movie soundtrack. I found the CD on Amazon.com. If anybody finds a good source for just the song, let me know and I'll post it.

This tune should be in every dancer’s collection, just for the power of the music and the vocals. It's also the perfect tune to practice your cha-cha-cha dancing, since it's slow and emotional. Dancing slower is often much tougher than dancing medium or faster tempos, because every move is exposed. I've also used it to practice Salsa moves slowly, but that requires ignoring the real feel of the tune.

I’m going to dig into my Salsa collections and get titles and artists in place. Stay tuned and let me know what you think of these songs.

Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.
-Thomas Alva Edison

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Don Baarns - Unlikely Salsero