Salsa-ing Your Way to Healthy Happiness

One, two, three, and five, six, seven,

these are counts to the rhythm of the classic, but ever so popular, salsa dance. Some dancers think of salsa dance as therapy, others as the best way to stay fit, and for some as perhaps the best way to socialize. Whatever the reason may be, the salsa scene in the San Francisco Bay Area is beyond thriving and offers unlimited benefits to its faithful dancers.

image (6)There is a salsa social every single night of the week, each one an opportunity to express yourself through shines (footwork), spins, body rolls, shoulder shimmies and lots of smiles. Hector Reyes, founder of MamboNova Dance Company says, “Salsa is my time to express myself through body movement, what I can’t express through words I reflect through my dancing and teaching.”

Reyes’ company is doing more than just teaching partner combinations; he is teaching others a new a way to live, laugh, make lasting friendships and embrace Latino music. As if those are not enough reasons to jump into the salsa scene, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, dancing is a great way to reduce blood pressure, maintain a healthy weight, lower the risk for coronary heart disease and strengthen the bones of your legs and hips.

“When I say I dance salsa my non-dancer friends, they automatically assume it is a Latino thing,” said Juan Benitez, student at MamboNova, “but what I love the most about the scene is that people of all cultures come together to enjoy an authentic Latino tradition.”

On average, MamboNova’s monthly socials attract close to 200 eager salseros and bachateros from all over the Bay Area, from blue collar to white collar attendees, the atmosphere makes for a perfect melting pot. image (3)

Salsa dancing makes for a perfect activity no only for its heart healthy benefits, and social engagement aspect, but for its mental benefits as well. Salsa dancing is stimulating to the mind, as it requires coordination and memorization. A 21-year study by the New England Journal of Medicine discovered that dancing reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and forms of dementia in the elderly.

Besides all the health benefits, salsa dancing is a great way to network and relieve the all too common thing called: stress. Whether you are looking for a new way to engage in a healthy lifestyle or simply meet new people, salsa dancing will provide you for exactly what you are looking.

“I am a dancer, that’s how I was born and that’s exactly how I will die; I will stop dancing the day my heart stops beating.”, shared Hector Reyes, “My entire being will always dance to the rhythm of a melody.”

To learn more about the MamboNova Dance Company you can find them at mambonovasf.com

Photos courtesy of MamboNova Dance Company778882_587916884555441_1941087941_o

Opera San Jose Cecilia Violetta Lopez

Santos Perdidos

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Formed in 2009, Santos Perdidos met when they played together as part of John Calloway’s Afro-Cuban Ensemble at San Francisco State University. With its strong vocal harmonies and rich sound, the band’s developing repertoire includes traditional music from Cuba, Peru, Colombia, Mexico & Spain as well as an expanding collection of original compositions. An acoustic group ranging in size from trio to sextet, they play an eclectic mix of Cuban son, Spanish Rumba, Bolero, and Afro-Peruvian Lando. Santos Perdidos’ first gig at the Mission Arts & Performance Project (MAPP) in the ‘Secret Garden,’ set the tone for their involvement in community events, and from there they have played shows at venues as varied as Mission “locals” El Rio and Coda, to Yoshi’s and the De Young Museum.

North Fair Oaks Community Festival

 

Every year the North Fair Oaks Community Festival welcomes the community to enjoy a day of free live entertainment, arts and crafts, food and beverages, children’s rides and activities, and a festive parade. The festival proceeds benefit the many youth programs of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office and provide scholarships through the Queen of the Festival scholarship program. Youth programs keep our youth safe and occupied during the critical, after-school hours and during the most vulnerable years of their school careers.

Manuel Romero: El orgullo de ser Latino

Manuel Romero photos courtesy of Keepsake Photography Š

Manuel Romero singer, song writer, and guitarist expresses his Orgullo through his music and for his Latino roots and for Silicon Valley. He performs for local sports teams, the President of Mexico, as well a having performed for the Pope John Paul II in Mexico City.

Romero made his first recording at age nine. He adds, “Ever since I was just two years old … (his family) they have videos of me singing at the house with him (my father) playing at the house.”

Interview with Manuel Romero by Alex Ontiveros on traditional mariachi musical talent, vision, and proud heritage.


Written by Eydie Mendoza | Videos by Jose Posadas

Nortec Makes Me Happy

Photo courtesy of Nacional Records

If you haven’t heard Nortec Collective Bostich + Fussible‘s (Nortec Collective) music yet, it is time to adjust the dial on your internal soundtrack of the Mexican borderlands. This is not your papi’s norteño. Nortec is based on the unmistakable banda, tambora, norteño sounds common to northern Mexico. They build on these traditions and mix it with electronica to create music that crosses cultural boundaries, producing a sound that is as just as norteño as it is techno (Nor+tec).

Photo courtesy of Nacional Records

Nortec Collective began in late 1990s when Ramón Amezcua (aka Bostich) founded the record label Mil Records,with Pepe Mogt (Fussible). Members of the collective have gone on to produce various musical projects under the names Clorofila, Hiboreal, Bostich and Fussible. Some of their earlier works brought together their electronic dance grooves with a musical identity firmly rooted in Tijuana. Their tune Tijuana Makes Me Happy begins with “Some people call it the happiest place on earth,” captures their essential idea of honoring their hometown.

Nortec‘s 2010 Grammy nominated album, Bulevar 2000 (Nacional Records) builds a longer bridge across the border. The album is lyrically stronger than previous works and one gets the sense that they are narrating a journey. The title track, Bulevar 2000 is haunting and enchanting where the tuba sounds like a heart-beat while driving along a highway trying to forget your lost love. It is “not a love song,” but it really is. Many of the lyrics on Bulevar are in English, including Centinela, which tells the story of star-crossed lovers that can only meet once a year on Día de Los Muertos. Nortec also teamed up with San Francisco based Loquat on the track I Count the Ways.

A Nortec Collective Bostich + Fussible show is a multi-sensory event and offers the best avenue to experience their distinct intersection of the contemporary and traditional Mexican music. On stage, DJs Bostich + Fussible are accompanied by musicians playing the sousaphone (tuba), accordion and trumpet. Their self-created DJ station has a futuristic 1960s look to it and the duo alternates between iPads and Tenori-on (a tablet of LED switches that create sounds). They complete their illustrated soundscape by projecting color-rich images of Tijuana behind the stage. Watching Nortec, you get the sense that they are creating music not only for their audience, but with their audience, as the relationship between the musicians, the sound, images and lights work in tandem to raise the energy of the crowd to a dancing frenzy.

Nortec have been outspoken critics of internet censorship. You can get many of their remixes free on SoundCloud, where they reached a million downloads of their tracks by the beginning of February 2012.

If you never thought you would be getting down to norteño and electronica, now is the time to try it. Nortec Collective Bostich + Fussible are performing at the New Parish in Oakland, Calif. on March 13th.

¡No te lo pierdas! 

Written by Michelle Siprut