Just back from Salsa Mayor at Galiano. They were quite good. I almost didn't go cause I've been a bit depressed. But I went, and it was good. They were heaps better than when I saw them four weeks ago. I could swear there was an extra singer (four in total) and they were a great deal slicker; much tighter. The brass was a lot better - it was quite ragged the last time I saw them. More people too - lots of Cubans. I don't get it: why are there more some days than others? I mean, obviously there is sometimes competition; but often there isn't - today for instance - and the last time I saw them; I'm sure there wasn't anything else much on.
I had a great dance with this teacher Erodys, who is really dancing beautifully at the moment. I was tempted to arrange to meet him somewhere this week, but then I thought, well if it's Manolito or something, I don't really want to dance with anyone. The groups have all been so good this trip, I don't really want to dance with anyone - they are my pareja. When you dance with a partner, the first thing you need to do is connect with that person - the group and their music then comes second. And the good bands here this time - the really good ones (Trabuco, PFG, Pupy) - have just commanded my attention. Also the few guys I have danced with have mostly just managed to piss me off in the first few seconds. (Here's a tip for anyone interested: if you want to dance with me; then dance with me - don't use me as a vehicle to show off your fancy columbia moves and do not ask me which country I come from until we have at least one dance under our belts.)
I danced with a couple of other guys (one asked which country I came from), who were pretty average, but mostly I danced on my own and enjoyed it.
Salsa Mayor have such a strong contratiempo thing on the bass. Interesting. And mostly I find that dancing contratiempo (at least on my own) fits their music better, though they do go in and out of it. Nobody else seemed to feel the same though: everyone was pretty much dancing a tiempo.
They're still a bit on the undeveloped side I think. Just a little bit ragged, and a little lacking in ... hooks. They need, I don't know. Time, probably. But they have a nice feel. And they're worth a look.
After my dance with Erodys I went to buy water and there wasn't any. I said, limon. She said tampoco. I said: que hay? she said "cola". I said no thanks. So I dehydrated until the band finished and I had almost spontaneously combusted, then went to the little tienda next door for water.
For the first time this trip, I saw Douglas, who I met here in 2002 when he was singing with Danny Lozada's kickass timba band. I had left his number behind this time but didn't think it would be a problem hooking up, as the two trips afterwards I saw him at a matinee the first time I went to Galiano. But he told me he has been recording with a group (which is why he hasn't been going out), so I'll hopefully hear the disc later this week and see what it's like.
Paulito is up on the cartelera for Monday. Hope it isn't a total disaster like the last matinee. Especially as it's probably going to be the last time I can see him. I've just realised that my favourite song from his set isn't on the album.
© Gabriel Wilder 2006