Book: Beyond Salsa for Beginners: The Cuban Timba Revolution: An Introduction to Latin Music for Dancers and Listeners


Beyond Salsa is a voluminous book series by Kevin Moore for musicians interested in learning Cuban timba, with 20+ titles on piano, bass, percussion, and dedicated to the styles of various players such as Alain Perez, Cesar Pupy Pedroso, and others.

The first book in the series, An introduction to Latin Music for Dancers and Listeners is more music appreciation than technical music instruction, although it does delve into the specifics of various claves and other rhythmic figures crucial to Cuban music.

The book features four listening tours to various eras and areas of Cuban music:

It’s a bit of work lining up all of the music in the listening tour – I was able to build the first three playlists in Spotify but the last requires some YouTube-ing. It certainly would be nice if a CD could have been included but I suppose licensing would have been fairly complex for something like that. 

For each track in the playlist there’s information on the music, rhythmic style and patterns, instrumentation, and info about the band and musicians, and it breaks down the tracks section by section, with timings listed.

I was hoping this book would delve a bit further into timba than it did – the distinction between series title and book title threw me I suppose – this particular book’s title indicates, as it turns out, that this book is intended as an introduction to latin music in general, while the series title mentions timba more specifically. As such it doesn’t delve too deeply into the complexities of timba music – the efectos, bloques, and gears that make this music so electrifying.

At any rate, the book serves as a fairly comprehensive introduction to Cuban music history. I can see myself returning to this book frequently for reference and to take deeper dives into specific track breakdowns that I skimmed through a fair bit on first read. For fans of Cuban music and dancing it’s well worth a read.

Single: Iván El Hijo de Teresa "Marianao"

I can’t get this wildly catchy coro out of my head, and regret squandering an opportunity to see this band in Havana – tried to see El Noro y Primera Clase the same night but as it turned out Alan Daniel was playing instead. I would be very interested to hear a full-length from this band that, based on the strength of this single, is in my mind close to the top of the list of Cuban timba bands at the moment.

Buy it here:
Ivan El Hijo DE Teresa - Marianao

Featured Move

Enchufla con pilón

Enchufla con pilón starts with an enchufla – no surprise there! – then incorporates a quick bit of pilón dance. 

Pilón was a style of music and dance from the 1950s, created by bandleader Pacho Also (not to be confused with his of Pachito Alonso known for his group Pachito Alonso y sus Kini Kini.). The music and dance are inspired by the rhythm and motion of pounding sugarcane. 

A few examples of pilón:
  1. Mùsica Y Danza | Pilon - YouTube
  2. Pilon…performed at the Gran Palenque by dancers of the Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba. - YouTube
View this move
Boston Rueda demonstrates Enchufla con pilón
Events Some intriguing events in Cuba  this summer
  • The Asocosalsa group from Venezuela is organizing concerts June 28-30 featuring Van Van, Pedrito Calvo, Manolito Simonent, Isaac Delgado , Maykel Blanco, Klimax, Mayito Rivera, Haila, Alexander Abreu, and more
  • The First International Timba Festival August 2-4 in Havana featuring a stellar lineup including Azucar Negra, El Nino y la Verdad, Bamboleo, Pachito Alonso y sus Kini Kini, Klimax, Havana de Primera, Adalberto Alvarez, Issac Delgado, Pupy y Los que son son, NG La Banda, Manolito Simonent, Maykel Blanco, Van Van and more
  • The second Varadero Josone Jazz & Son Festival is coming to Varadero from August 22-25 featuring big names like Van Van, Adalberto Alvarez, Pupy y Los Que Son Son, Paul FG, Manolito Simonent, Havana de Primera, Alain Perez, Halia, Buena Fe, El Chacal, and more
Of interest to our Halifax readers
  • Thu June 13 - 1313 Hollis - "All DJ Party" - 1313 has a mixed dance night Thursdays from 9-11pm featuring a blend of bachata, kizomba, cha cha, salsa, Afro-Cuban jazz, the occasional timba track and other assorted music selections from various DJs - $3
  • Sat June 15 - Baila! 2 – Son Latino is doing another edition of the phenomenal Baila! party that they did last year, this time at the Seahorse Tavern in Halifax. $10 at the door, 9:30pm-1am with DJ Junior
  • June 20 - Haliente on the Waterfront - call them foolishly trusting in Nova Scotian summer if you will, but Haliente is starting up salsa night on the waterfront starting Thursday June 20, 8:30pm-10:30pm
  • July 3 - Free To Move on the Waterfront – Free To Move socials are back on the waterfront for July and August, starting Wednesday July 3rd, 6pm-10:30pm
  • Sat July 13 - Pedrito Martinez at Halifax Jazz Fest – not to be missed – this Cuba-via-New York conguero, singer and bandleader should be spectacular
  • Tue Aug 13 - Alain Pérez is playing La Tulipe in Montreal - they also have dates at festivals in Chicoutimi and Gaspé – direct from Havana Cuba, this is an artist worth traveling for!
That’s all for this week, thanks for reading!
Copyright © 2019 Gordon B. Isnor, All rights reserved.

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