Sunday, May 29, 2016

Cubanising Baladas

Following up from the latest bolero sessions at Solares, one of the participants, an avid YouTuber, wanting to get his ear in, directed me to the below:

asking if they were boleros. I responded saying they were 'baladas' ('ballads'), not boleros, because they lacked African-derived rhythmic phrasing. The question he asked, and the examples he gave, told me an immense amount about how Europeans might listen to Afro-Caribbean music. It got me thinking as to how I could develop the rhythmic perception of someone versed in the European aesthetic to one who was just as sensitive to the African aesthetic.

Then it struck me to use these songs themselves. I could offer for them to learn how to play the bolero tumbao on congas, and the martillo rhythm on bongó, and then play them alongside these tracks, thus 'Cubanising' them from baladas into boleros!

It would develop the perception of African rhythm as anticipating that of European AND it would open the door to the subtle nuances of rhythmic phrasing, which is a sensitivity transferable to dancing!

I'm sensing the start of another research project.

Loo Yen Yeo

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