Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Living and Teaching English in Cali, Colombia – No Salsa, No Dates
No Salsa No Dates
Cali has all the amenities typically offered by most large, first-world cities. But undoubtedly for many, the principal attraction that lures them to this charming city is Salsa music. The sensuous, tropical rhythms of Salsa pervade the lives of the two million plus Caleños. On every bus you’ll hear Salsa. Go for a walk, to school or shopping there’s salsa in the air. And, of course there’s Salsa on almost all of the more than two dozen local radio stations. All over town, 24-hours a day, Salsa blasts from speakers on the streets, in parks, in stores, from cars, portable radios and private homes. Cali lives and breathes Salsa.
But why Salsa?
Many other musical traditions, styles and types of folk music flourish in Cali (including the traditional Cumbia, where machete wielding dancers stomp around full-busted women in ruffled skirts). What’s so special about Salsa? After all Vallenatos, a brand of folk music with roots back to the days of the Spanish conquistadors, is still hugely popular—especially as sung by the likes of Colombia’s Grammy award winner Carlos Vives(pictured). Boleros (check out Luis Miguel’s “Inolvidable”) and Merengue continue to have strong followings here.
Why has this one style ingrained itself so deeply into the culture? To aficionados the answer is simple: “I love salsa music.” Whatever the reason for it’s universal popularity in Cali, Salsa is more than just music, more than a dance. It’s an indispensable social skill explains my friend, Carmenza, “No salsa—no dates.” You can’t meet others if you can’t dance.” And that’s why there are salsa dance schools throughout the city. You pay for lessons by the hour. Prices range from $6 up to $10 per hour for more private, one-on-one instruction. Group classes fu up fast. Salsa classes are not just the place to go for learning, but to practice and perfect your moves or pick up some new ones. They’re a good “meeting place” for neighborhood residents. “It’s important to dance very well or you’re boring,” says Sofia, an avid Salsa fan.
The Salsa Capital of the World
Cali calls itself the “Salsa Capital, of the World,” a title wrenched from post-Fidel Cuba and often shared with New York City. But even those who might take exception to “World Capital” will agree that Cali is certainly the “Salsa Capital of South America.” The top Latin salsa performers, like New York’s Jerry “King of 54th Street” Gonzalez, regularly fly in to strut their stuff. At any given time you can see all the famous names in salsa, artists hike Cuba’s “Queen of Salsa,” Celia Cruz; guitarist, singer and songwriter Juan Luis Guerra from the Dominican Republic; Frank Raul Grillo, the Cuban American also known as Machito; Reuben Blades, the popular Panamanian singer, songwriter, actor and politician renowned for his musical innovations as well as traditional Salsa; Willie Colon; Oscar d’Leon, and many others.
Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 100 countries. Get your FREE E-book,"If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: email@example.com Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.