Sunday, May 18, 2008


From: CalenoStyle

Salsa Cali Style - These kids are dancing amazing. It's no high speed movie - it's real.

By Timothy Pratt
Special to the Miami Herald Newspaper

While Cubans and Puerto Ricans were setting the standard for salsa style during those four decades, full of spins and shimmies, Caleños were quietly developing their own. A pastiche of influences ranging from the Swing to Boogaloo.

So it is competition on international stages that has lifted CALI's STYLE (athletic below the waist and fleet of foot) out of its barrios of birth. The city of three million in Colombia's southwest has produced two first-place and two top-three finishes in the event's first two versions.
How did Salsa arrive to Cali, Colombia?

The Salsa, with its roots from Cuba, included Colombia with the appearance of the radio in 1929. The Mambo, Cha-cha-chá, Pachanga, Rumba, Bolero, Son Montuno and SON CUBANO (Salsa original rhythm), stayed in the memory and the body of at least four generations of Caleños, thanks to the CMQ, Radio Progreso, Radio Havana, the records and films. The singer Celia Cruz said: "Salsa is a different way of naming Cuban music" The Cubans refused for a long time the term SALSA, although many end up by accepting it.

It didn't matter that these genres were not born here, in fact, there were no genre music created in Cali, we have never had an original music, but it can be recognized in other regions of Colombia. These rhythms arrived early and continue spreading through out the new generations of Cali.

In 1957 it appeared in the Fair of Cali. The Pachanga, entered with great force. Then came other rhythms which were also well received such as the Swing, Rock'n Roll, Boggie Woogie, Tap, Jazz, Twist and Tango.

Damaso Perez Prado came to Cali for the first time in the early 60's, a young woman by the name Amparo Ramos Correa joined his Mambo dancers. Perez Prado enjoyed her style of dancing and invited her to Mexico but she refused.

In 1968, in exchange for Tito Puente, they risked in bringing to the Fair of Cali, two raising stars: Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz, who were playing a new rhythm called: Jala Jala, what an excitement!!! But also a madness. They secured a love for the DESCARGAS (to up tempo percussion rhythm). They met with the same young woman who knew Perez Prado, and was surprised by her skills, one year later they tributed her with a classic theme: AMPARO ARREBATO.

Cali was converted the center point of Salsa dancers, which were enjoyed in nightclubs such as El Pana, Honka Monka, and the current Changó in Juanchito, with the rhythms coming from Cuba, Puerto Rico and later New York. The Boogaloo, relatively slow and originating from New York, arrived in 1969 on LP's 33 RPM, a DJ of the Village Game nightclub accelerated to 45 RPM and this was great to be hit them to interpret it with their feet.

In the 70's the Fania All Stars came to Cali, counting among its stars the Singer of Singers: Hector Lavoe, who came to live in Cali for 6 months. In 1974, the Cuban politician and journalist Jose Pardo Llada, whom lives in Cali since the 60's, set up a Salsa Dance Championship, where the first place and the fame went to Watuzi and Maria from Cali, competing against Cubans and Puerto Ricans. Rolando Laserie, interpreter of Las Cuarentas, participated as juror.

In the early 80's, stereotype born created by the radio promotion and show business that strengthened the slogan: CALI WORLD WIDE SALSA CAPITAL, cultural phenomenon that been formed since 20 years ago, not as a process of creation and music production, but as a activity consumption, exalted in the proliferation of Nightclubs, the Fair of Cali, radio, popular dances, the passion for Cuban rhythms, the enjoyment of music history, the international meetings of Salsa music collectors, emergence of about 100 orchestras, Cali became the most important musical memory of Salsa and of-course no other place on earth is danced so much salsa like in Cali.

CALI was recognized also by Orchestras, Historians, Composers, Music collectors, Travelers, Producers, Singers, Journalists, Foreigners and Salsa lovers as:


Cali stopped being for several years and for many reasons, the Salsa Capital World due to the invasion of stranger musical genres to the idiosyncrasies Caleño as Vallenato, Merengue and finally Reggeaton. To be honest, the decadence of Salsa is not just an issue in Cali.

The CALI STYLE is characterized by its speed, following the feet movements to all musical instruments to perfection, dancing in first compass: Salsa On1, and for its spectacular acrobatic figures: CABARET. This original style, is unique in the Salsero world, REPRESENT OUR FOLKLORE, has become a healthy sport with precision, art, dexterity and competition among 80 dance academies. It has earned respect and admiration at the World Salsa Championships. Is seen by Salsa lovers as THE BEAUTY HIDDEN PEARL. Born of a mixture of Afro-Colombian rhythms, Twist, Tap, Boogaloo, Rock'n Roll, Mambo, Swing, Pachanga, Foxtrot and DESCARGAS.

The 80 dance academies and its five thousand dancers, we must recognize that they took the honor of defending Salsa in Cali and they do so with intelligence, BECAUSE THEY BEEN WORKING AT IT SINCE CHILDHOOD. So Salsa is alive in Cali, in its roots. Cali also celebrates World Salsa Festival every September.

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