Fall Back Into Salsa at 1st Wednesdays of the Month w/Meetup.com Wednesday Sept 1st!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

It’s hard to believe that summer is ending but we’ll have at least one more opportunity to celebrate summer 2010.  The San Diego Salsa and Latin Dancing Meetup group in conjunction with Ritmo Bello is hosting our last 1st Wednesday event at Cafe Sevilla September 1st.  Why is it our last one you may ask?  Well, as I shared with you last month Cafe Sevilla will be moving in the fall to a new location.

Join us as we celebrate one final time at the old Cafe Sevilla location.  The event starts at 8pm and this time there will be a LIVE BAND to enjoy beginning at 10pm.

For more information about the event and to RSVP please visit the event page (click here).

See you all on September 1st at Cafe Sevilla!

John ;-)


Congratulations to Franklin Liranzo Winner of the 2010 San Diego Salsa Bachata Ritmo Bello YouTube Contest!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ritmo Bello and the San Diego Salsa Bachata Festival congratulate Franklin Liranzo for winning the 2010 Full VIP event pass!  Hailing from New York City, Franklin’s YouTube video submission presented the best creativity and overall impact as you’ll see below (it’s actually inspiring too):

Thank you to everyone that submitted their video entries.  If you still need to purchase your passes for the 2010 San Diego Salsa Bachata Festival don’t procrastinate, get yours today before they sell out of tickets and hotel rooms!

You can find out more information about the upcoming festival on the San Diego Salsa Bachata Festival website and RSVP to meet members of the San Diego Salsa and Latin Dancing Meetup Group at the event.

See you all at the 2010 San Diego Salsa Bachata Festival!

John ;-)


Carrying on the Cuban Son Tradition: A Ritmo Bello Interview with Septeto Nacional

Saturday, August 21, 2010

For many Latin Americans, tradition plays a huge role in the development of not just the culture but also the music that comes from that culture.  This is clearly evident in the work of Cuban Son Band Septeto Nacional.  Since 1927 the Cuban band has worked tirelessly to keep the traditional Cuban son alive and little has changed for the 4th generation of the band that currently tours today.  San Diego will be able to experience true, authentic Cuban Son at their upcoming Anthology concert here in Little Italy on September 3rd.  Recently I was lucky enough to talk with Francisco Oropesa from the group about the history and tradition of Septeto Nacional.  I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did.

John ;-)



Ritmo Bello: Francisco Oropesa, it’s great to finally sit down with you to talk about the legendary Septeto Nacional. Okay, let’s begin. Can you give my Ritmo Bello readers some background on the band’s origin and the original leader, Ignacio Pineiro?

Septeto Nacional:  The Septeto Nacional was officially founded on December 13, 1927, by Don Ignacio Piñeiro at 56 Pocito Street in the neighborhood of Pueblo Nuevo, in Havana, Cuba. Additional founding members were Juan de La Cruz Iznaga, Francisco Solares, Jose Manuel Incharte, Alberto Villalón, Bienvenido León y Abelardo Barroso. Another early member was Lázaro Herrera. He became the first trumpeter to record Cuban son in the newer septet format. Prior to this, the group was a sextet, as were the vast majority of son groups in Cuba at the time. The addition of the trumpet was a major innovation in the development of Cuban son.

Ritmo Bello: What exactly does ‘septeto” refer to, the group members themselves or the instruments? What’s the history behind the name?

Septeto Nacional:  Septeto (Septet) refers to the number of muscians in the group (seven musicians, each with an instrument). Ignacio Pineiro played a significant role in changing the number of musicians in the son format to seven from the original six.

Ritmo Bello: Most folks may not be familiar with the difference between modern salsa music and Cuban Son. How would you describe the differences and what do you see as the advantages of one music form over the other?

Septeto Nacional:  First, the son is played with acoustic instruments. Some of the early instruments are no longer used as frequently, such as the Marímbula (used as a bass – constructed of several metal strips attached to a box) and the Botija (a jug – like those found in the Kentucky black jug bands).

The son played by Septeto Nacional is special. Ignacio Piñeiro’s unique arrangements and compositions are infused with many of the African derived music traditions found in Cuba, such as Rumba (the Rumba complex includes: Guanguancó, Yambú and Colombia) and Abakuá. He created and enriched his music with all these elements.

Ritmo Bello: Although Septeto Nacional is known for its rich musical history I’m sure you have an opportunity to make new music. How and where do you find inspiration for creating new music?

Septeto Nacional:  The most important objective for our group is to keep the original repertoire and preserve the Rumba style Ignacio Piñeiro brought to the son.

When we make new music, we’re inspired by our excellent musicians and composers.   However, we always make sure to conserve the traditional character and brand handed down by Ignacio Piñeiro.

Ritmo Bello: As a history buff I always like to see the greater picture and understand how music has evolved through certain events. How has the Cuban revolution in 1959 affected music coming from Cuba such as Cuban Son?

Septeto Nacional:  In our case, the group has not been affected. We have always received our country’s full support. We tour and perform a great deal and through this, we receive much admiration and respect in Cuba and throughout the world. We are proud to be the ambassadors of Cuban Folklore, a title we’ve held since 1929, and represent our traditional music at the highest levels.

Ritmo Bello: Can you tell me a little about the albums that Septeto Nacional has released to date?

Septeto Nacional:  A vast number of recordings have been made since 1927. Between 1959 and 2010, more than 20 albums have been released. Some of the latest and most significant recordings are: Poetas del Son (Chant du Monde label – Grammy nominated, 2002), El Sabor de la Tradición (Ferment 2005), Noche de Conga (Egrem 2007), Desafiando al Destino (Bis Music 2009).

Ritmo Bello: Are there current plans for new CD releases coming up soon?

Septeto Nacional:  Our latest album is titled Sin Rumba, No Hay Son from Harmonia Mundi/World Village Records. We’re launching it on this U.S. tour. The official release date is September 14th. The CD has 14 great tracks. We hope our fans enjoy it and that it’s a success on the global market

Ritmo Bello: What song from your group best epitomizes true Cuban Son in your opinion?

Septeto Nacional:  Indisputably, there are many songs from Piñeiro that exemplify the Septeto Nacional. However, in my opinion, the most universal is Échale salsita (throw a little salsa on it!). The term “salsa”, the blanket word we use today to describe tropical/Latin music, can be traced to this son composition.

Ritmo Bello: What type of awards has the group received over the years on account of Cuban Son music? Which ones are you most proud of receiving?

Septeto Nacional:  I think the most significant awards the Septeto Nacional has received are the gold medals from the Seville World’s Fair in 1929 and the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933. Equally as important, the group is also a recipient of the Cuban Cultural Heritage Award of Distinction. We’re proud and honored to be so recognized.

Ritmo Bello: What are you future plans concerning your music?

Septeto Nacional:  To continue the worldwide promotion of Ignacio Piñeiro’s music, identified globally as Cuban Folklore.

Ritmo Bello: As a salsa dancer I have to ask, what do you think about the growth and popularity of dancing to salsa, Cuban Son or other types of Latin music?

Septeto Nacional:  In many countries we see salsa dancers dancing on rhythmic elements of the Cuban Son. We also see many people come to Cuba to learn popular dance, some of them have dance academies that exist in different countries.  I think it’s great to see so many young people eager to learn how to dance to this music we all love.  Cubans breathe their music and dance (both in popular and folkloric forms). It’s a constant presence in our lives, from morning to night.   Cubans live it every minute of the day – in their homes, on the streets, festivals, clubs – music, dance and art are a constant presence in Cuba. It’s a part of our lives from the time we’re born. We know and understand all Latin rhythms and trends from all parts of Latin America.

Ritmo Bello: At the upcoming Anthology show September 3rd what can we expect to see when you perform?

Septeto Nacional:  The audience can expect to listen and dance to the best Cuban traditional music, the most authentic and best preserved Cuban son in the style of Ignacio Piñeiro.

Ritmo Bello: Is there anything else you’d like to share with the San Diego salsa and Latin dance community that we haven’t covered yet?

Septeto Nacional:  We hope the San Diego public enjoys our music and our interpretive quality. We’re the 4th generation of Septeto Nacional and have played over 500 concerts in over 36 countries over the past 10 years.

Ritmo Bello: Do you have contact information in case anyone from the Ritmo Bello audience wants to contact you?

Septeto Nacional:  They can contact us by email at echalesalsita@cubarte.cult.cu or by phone in Cuba 535-2829003 or 537-8635736. Ask for Frank or Ricardo.

Ritmo Bello: Francisco, on behalf of the San Diego salsa dance community and Ritmo Bello thank you for your time! It has been an honor to talk to you today.

Septeto Nacional:  Many thanks to you and the Ritmo Bello audience. We hope to see all of you at the Anthology Jazz Club shows.

YOUR YOUTUBE VIDEO = $225: San Diego Salsa Bachata 2010 VIP Pass Giveaway Ends Friday August 20th!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hope you are all doing great.  Just a quick reminder that the Full FREE Event VIP pass giveaway ends this Friday August 20th (that is one week from today).  The full event pass is a $225 value that gives you access to all the happenings at the upcoming San Diego Salsa Bachata Festival.

To enter:

1.  Create a  2 minute or less YouTube video
2.  that explains why you choose to dance and why you would love to attend the Festival, all at no cost to you
3.   and makes mention of Ritmo Bello in the video submission.

The winner will be chosen based on:

1.  Creativity

2.  Message clarity and relevance

3.  Motivation and inspiration

4.  Overall impact

To be eligible for the contest please submit your YouTube video link to bello_jf@ritmobello.com by Friday, August 20th, 2010. The winner will be announced on RitmoBello.com Monday, August 23rd, 2010.

Looking forward to all your entries, good luck!

John ;-)


VIDEO: Positive Energy Performing LIVE at the Grupo Niche Concert, Blue Agave Nightclub San Diego, CA!

Monday, August 9, 2010

This is a great video showing a stellar performance by Positive Energy at the recent Grupo Niche concert here in San Diego.  You’ll notice the first part is tango inspired and the latter portion switches to salsa dancing.  A great performance overall…

Remember that you can help improve the quality of these videos to high definition format by donating to the Ritmo Bello HD YouTube Fund.  Every dollar counts and we appreciate your support as we try to improve our videos for the San Diego dance community.   Below is the widget where you can help:

Thanks and see you all on the dance floor!

John ;-)


Bachata Mondays at 809 Lounge Grand Opening August 9th!

Friday, August 6, 2010

San Diego’s Bachata dance scene is always expanding and nothing is better proof of that but a new dance venue for bachata!  That’s right, San Diego is lucky to have a new venue hosting Bachata Mondays, the Gaslamp Quarter’s 809 Lounge.  Thanks to A Time to Dance Studio and Anthony Umina & Marissa Johnson of Bachatamante Dance Co. you can now find out what the bachata dance craze is all about.  Here is a video showing you how elegant and sensual the dance can be:

For more information on the new club visit BachataSanDiego.com and have a great time dancing bachata!

John ;-)


San Diego’s Newest Saturday Night Salsa Dance Venue: Tikul Coastal Mexican La Jolla

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

San Diego’s newest high end venue for Salsa and Latin dancing located in downtown La Jolla below George’s on the Cove is now open for dancing!  Tikul Coastal Mexican cuisine now offers Salsa , Bachata, Cha cha cha and merengue on their menu each saturday night for the month of August and possibly beyond.

Apart from being a great new alternative for your Saturday night salsa dancing, the venue is FREE all night long.

If you’ve never been to Tikul check out this video about the new dance venue:

Tikul has a spacious outdoor patio area and ocean views from the west side of the complex complete with nice wood dance floors.  The club  is hosted by Salsa Inferno under DJ Tony Caligagan, a longtime friend of Ritmo Bello.

Ritmo Bello and the San Diego Salsa and Latin Dancing Meetup Group will be in attendance this Saturday August 7th and we encourage you to join us.  For more information on the new venue and to RSVP please go to the event page here.

See you all Saturday at Tikul in downtown La Jolla!

John ;-)


John F. Bello

Meet John ;-)

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