Would you like Salsa with your Bagel? Shakin’ a leg at the Festival of World Cultures

I witnessed a unique and beautiful thing today. A couple of hundred sober Irish people engaged in the communal act of dancing. It was glorious! I was a member of the crowd and I clumsily shook both legs and whatever other bits were kind enough to co-ordinate, in my awkward attempt to master the 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 rhythm. The sounds were great, lovely dubby baselines got you in the solar plexus and the clack, clack of marimbas and nice jazzy cords made the whole Salsa experience go down really easy. I am hungry for more and will dust off my latino fusion tunes and bust a groove in the front room of my house regularily now.

Trans Global Underground are playing tomorrow and I hope to make it, I am a big fan and love the stuff they did with Natasha Atlas. I like dancing. I have adapted my own kind of silly dancing that makes me feel good. It has its own unique rhythm and style and there are no rules. Works for me. My missus (who is naturally a great dancer) thinks its hilarious and reminds me of how daft I look at every opportunity, so I get self consious and don’t dance 😦

But nevermind, I am not one to cow tow to the critics, so dance I shall and to hell with the consequences 🙂

I could not help but notice how great many of the dancers at the Festival of World Culture, in Dun Laoghaire were. Its all in the feet and the hips, if you can free your toes the rest will follow, never mind your mind or your ass, its all in the toes. Your feet send signals to the rest of you and act as a kind of conductor telling the rest of you what to do. I was also wondering (while joyfully shaking my thang) if animals dance? There was a lady who has a small King Charles Spaniel that seem to have synchopated its tail in time with the funky rhythms, is this co-incidence or do animals bust a groove?

Answers on a postcard please.


Published by

Joshue O Connor

Musical Web Monkey with a special interest in Web Standards. For more work stuff see http://www.cfit.ie. For more music stuff see http://www.techrecord.net

2 thoughts on “Would you like Salsa with your Bagel? Shakin’ a leg at the Festival of World Cultures”

  1. Hey Josh,

    Glad you did us bad, but enthusiastic dancers of the world proud. I’m raging I missed the fest, from what I’ve heard it was a blast. The odd dodgey musical venture, but ‘they say’ most shows were good, great, or fantastic.

    Animals dancing? Well, I’ve heard that if you play a beat of some sort, a horse will walk in time to that beat. If there is music on, the horse will react and ‘move to the groove’. I wonder how a horse would handle a 7-8 tempo, hmm hmm. Clip-Clop, Clip-Clop, Clip-Clip-Clop? I’ve a crazy image in my mind of a horse executing a little shuffle to get that final Clop right, to poise himself for the next bar on a Clip.

    Recently, I was soaking up some Latin music of my own. While you were leg shaking, hip grooving etc, I was sitting on a southern Spanish beach listening to the hottest Flamenco band I’ve ever heard.

    The rhythm section was made up of a real traditional Spanish sounding drummer, and the waves of the Med which were crashing in the background. It’s amazing how much the sound of those waves added to the sonic wonders which were permeating the air that day. They just seemed to get louder and more dramatic at the right time, and calm down and become dreamy when the band took the music down… The dynamics of the ocean, baby.

    The guitarist was absolutely blistering. You should’ve heard him throwing out those Paco De Lucia licks, the staccato notes just rattled off his abalone-adorned fingerboard like machine gun fire.

    There was love in the air that day, real hot passionate Spanish love. Flamenco music is so sexy in my opinion. You’ve got that real lazy but somehow raunchy sounding backbeat, with the passion of the lead guitar and vocals, wrapped up in the beats, chords and flarey melodies from the rest of the traditional Spanish instruments… all of them crescendoing at times in to a sort of rhythmic haze of speed led by the guitars.

    The band played for a solid five hours, changing line up as their friends arrived and got up to play a song or two. For the whole time, the punters at the bar kept the wonderful Flamenco style clap beats going, along with some dancers who cleared a space in front of the band to do their thing.

    The music was breath taking, and the context was just perfect. The lead guitarist was absolutely astounding, I nearly dropped my cerveza when I first heard him soloing… only nearly mind you.

    The show was over at around 7 PM, when the band were too drunk to play, and the punters were too drunk to listen and/or dance. The good lady and myself were the only English-speaking people at the place, so I bet our pale skin and bad attempts at the lingo stuck out like a sore thumb. We did ok though, I can just about get by in Spanish, and they soon realised all we wanted was beer and wine, so there wasn’t a problem.

    It’s so great to know that Dublin, and Irish people in general are being exposed to more and more music from around the world. Sometimes, it gets mish-mashed in to Irish Traditional, Pop, Rock, Jazz, whatever, and becomes that cool style of music most hip people claim to play in these days, which is ‘Fusion’.

    I’m so happy it’s just not all Hip-Hop, Techno (is that what they still call it?), and pop music bombarding our tired ears in the city now that we’ve reached the 21st century. There’s so much music, and so many different styles to be heard in good old Dublin, and it’s surrounding areas if you know where to go looking (or listening) for it.

    Your own projects only serve to enhance the range of musical diversity we have at our disposal, so keep up the good work. I’m a proud fan, and am doing my best to spread the Fuzzy word.



  2. Hey Tony,

    Glad you had a good time in Spain and got washed by the waves of Flamenco et al. I found the music in South America to be very passionate and sexy, but not frenetic. I suppose I would describe it as measured and purposeful. It’s hard to describe really. It like this great sexy music is a part of the people, their lives and essence and that dancing is as natural and integral to them as breathing. Music is so important and such a “part” of us that in some ways it could be said that it can define our higher selves, or at least give an indication or glimpse, of an existence of a higher self, or higher consciousness. Music allows us to transend the limitations of the physical world and reach into another part of ourselves that is so often out of focus or neglected in our day to day lives. I feel very fortunate to be able to play music and feel a sense of that connection. I’m with Kurt Vonnegut when he said that “Music is the surest proof of the existenence of the divine”.

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