Fuego Tropical Concert Report

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On Friday, November 6th, I was fortunate enough to attend the Fuego Tropical concert, at the Comstock Memorial Union at Minnesota State University Moorhead. In this concert, there were two special guests: Ruben Alvarez, who, according to the event's program, is a professional Latin percussionist, and Dr. Tom Strait, who is one of the faculty members at MSUM. There were two styles of music performed at this concert, which were Steelband and Salsa. Going into this, I knew some background on the history of steel drums and Trinidad, but not a lot about salsa dancing or the history behind the dance and music. Therefore, I decided to take a closer look at salsa, and find out the history and culture surrounding it. In the late 1950s, Fidel Castro…show more content…
“When a dance such as salsa is a part of an individual heritage, it typically learned without formal instruction within lived contexts such as family or community settings.” (Renta 142). Today, salsa is often taught in formal ballroom classes and performed in dance events. In these modern contexts, the dancing is much more choreographed and focused on technique rather than the enjoyment of the culture or history of salsa. Because of this, the dance has evolved to be highly sexualized and is often perceived as such. However, the true nature of salsa, again, focuses on isolation of the hips, shoulders, and feet. No matter what context, the most important aspect of the salsa is to match the movements with the music. The music and rhythm of salsa is frequently very upbeat and lively. “The typical salsa band today features a rhythm section of bass, piano, congas, bongos, and timbales, a horn section of variable size, and one or more singers.” (Berrios-Miranda 162). It often has a complex African percussion to give the song an underlying groove. But the most important and prominent instrument in giving the groove is the clave, which is two wooden sticks that are hit together to make a sound. (History of Salsa Music and…show more content…
Typically, the United States has a very formal perception on concerts. The band/orchestra is on an elevated stage, while the spectators/audience members sit quietly and listen to the music. This was not the case for Fuego Tropical concert. They encouraged people to get up and dance, clap, sing along, and just have fun. Many people, including myself, were caught off guard by this concept, but it definitely made for a fun experience. The moment everyone caught on that this was not a typical concert was when they started a limbo contest in the middle of the Steelband
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