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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Gon Bops

The Gon Bops legend began in 1954 California when Mexican-American Mariano Bobadilla (born in Guadalajara) – would go on to become one of the most highly-regarded conga builders in the percussion industry – started designing and building Conga and Bongo drums. A band instrument repairman and professional trumpet player, Mariano launched Gon Bops in his father’s old wooden garage in a downtown Los Angeles neighborhood. He chose the name Gon Bops because “Gon” was one of the colloquial expressions of the time, as in, “everything is gone, man” – and “Bops” because his friends nicknamed him Bob, which sounded like “Bop” in the Latino dialect.

"Life without music would be a mistake."


While Mariano’s drums remained true to the classic Cuban shape, he was a genuine innovator in the development of drum hardware. He designed the first teardrop crown with rounded counter hoops, developed to protect players’ hands – a concept that is now universally accepted. He also gave birth to the first tunable hardware for congas and bongos in the United States. Having witnessed Cuban conga players heating up drums in their kitchens prior to performing, Mariano decided there had to be a simpler more reliable method to tension these instruments. Other innovations from the young company were Taroles (wooden timbales), the first pre-mounted replacement heads for congas, chromatic tuned cowbells and numerous stands, adapters and other hardware.

"Que Rico El Mambo" por Perez Prado

Congas
Gon Bops enjoyed great early success. And even in the late fifties he had no books. I lived in Los Angeles and began to help in the accounting to get something resembling the real thing and minimizing his taxes. I never set up a complete accounting system with a General Ledger. And I never really appreciated the extent of his genius.

"Moliendo Cafe"
por Azucar Moreno

The instruments were highly sought after by the top players of the era – giants in the Latin field – all of whom contributed invaluable R&D input. I was in Nicaragua by then and Gon Bops quickly became the undisputed leader in Latin percussion instruments and Mariano remained deeply committed to a hands-on role in production and retained complete control of the design and fabrication of all his products.

"Papa Loves Mambo" by Perry Como

Bongos
As a result, Gon Bops instruments were mainstays on the biggest stages around the world, including the massive Woodstock festival in 1969. But the Republican profit makers and the winds of change were sweeping through the American percussion industry. By the time the 1980’s rolled around, all of Trumps rich friends, the major US percussion manufacturers had moved offshore to manufacture their instruments.

"Vaya Con Dios" by Les Paul and Mary Ford.

Cheap Asian labor costs meant greater profits. And we all know now that Trump and his Republicans are in it for the money. It's the bread, Fred. But as manufacturing costs decreased, so did quality, and for that reason Mariano refused to move his production outside of the US. As a result, Gon Bops began to struggle financially. Unable to compete against his larger competitors, Mariano had no choice but to close the doors of his highly regarded company.

"Life is a grindstone, whether it grinds us down or polishes us up, depends on us." 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Aloha Dancesport

One of my hobbies is making posters and I am not too complicated. In this case, I just used one of my backgrounds, and made the title special. Then I took the text that I received copied, centered and changed the color. Simple.

"Dancers think less, feel more and let the music do the talking."

It livens up the blog very nicely
The clubs with younger boards will be the ones to take advantage of using the blogs to advance their club purposes. And if it is for the dancers, we are all for it. Some have been so good in communicating that they will sooner or later take the advantage of having a person or persons from their board contributing information regularly to the blogs. Blogs do not consider it advertising. It is communicating to the readers and the readers make the ultimate decision on where to go.

"Por Un Amor" by Pedro Infante


And since it is all free, they have nothing to lose but their chains. Everyone can start by using the comments at the end of every blog. One word would be nice, "fine" or "terrible" but it would be a beginning. You would all discover the power of the "word" on your fellow dancers. Every one has their own unique opinion that no one else has.

"Dancers can build a dance life that solves their own needs
and never stop improving it."

Monday, February 13, 2017

Break, on one or two

By Ricardo Gomez, Turtle Bay

They are still having fun with the one and the two count in town. That's nice. And many do not know that modern 20th century Latin dance was originally danced on the two count - because the music was accented on the two count.

"Art is either plagiarism or revolution."

The Rumba in the 30s by Xavier Cugat was a famous example. Famously followed was the Mambo in the 40s by Perez Prado and which was also accented on the two count. The Latin dances do not usually break on the man's right foot on the one count like the English. They start on the break with the left foot on the accented beat, which originally was the two count.

"Perfidia" by Artie Shaw

But then these Indians just were not aware that had been dancing this stuff for centuries "incorrectly." Then too most music is not composed for dancers, it is composed for listeners and that means a sound that composers seek. And the DJ's responsibility may be to find the danceable kind of music for their clients. "You can dance a Cha Cha Cha to it" is not the same as "you gotta dance a Cha Cha Cha to it."

"Green Eyes" by Jimmy Dorsey


With the advent of Salsa, the composers in the US increasingly accented the first count. So that the dancers accustomed to breaking on the accented count began to break on the One. Mambo dancers never worried about the count. They danced to the music. But this became very important to Salsa dancers and there is where the complications began. Many do not even know where the one count is, they do know where the accent is and that is where they break. Salsa dancers have been known to break on the one, two, three and four. But nit pickers will nit pick.
Ricardo

"Maria Elena" by Benny Goodman

And we shall dance in the streets
Pub's Note: And the women on Oahu, bless them, are just wonderful, they can follow a reasonable dancer on any beat. They are good and look great which is the role of the follower. In Latin dancing the leader just leads and does the basic most of the time. Let us accept that the leader and the follower dance differently and the follower is the star of the show.

"Cuando Escuches Este Vals" por Xavier Solis


The beginnings of the Mexican Indian use of the guitar was in the Even beat when the Spanish Guitar was introduce to Mexico in the 1700s. That is just strumming the guitar and changing the sound with the chords in the left hand. This method is still taught to the kids and they do very well with it. They can get some nice music out of this and it naturally evolved into a couple of guitars soon enough. It also acquired additional rhythms. Then there was another very natural addition, the Trumpet that came with the Europeans at about the 1800s and the music centered in Jalisco.

"Ay Jalisco, No Te Rajes." por Jorge Negrete

The groups evolved into big Mariaichi bands and they began to have at least three guitars, two violins and a couple of Trumpets. By the time of the Revolution to eliminate the Mexican Empire set up by Napoleon in the 1860s, the Mariachis had bands with three guitars, three trumpets and three violins. And the rhythm section came into prominence, with the famous Huapango beat.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Rumba Anyone?

by Juan Solis, Pupukea

Rumba, Mambo, Cha Cha Cha all developed from the same dances in the Caribbean. The original was a combination of a many different native dances which became the Son. Not well documented but most America records say Afro meaning from Africa and contrary to popular opinion, it is not true. The slaves were not picked for their musical and dance abilities. Most of what they learned was in the second and third generation in the Americas. And they picked whatever they liked from the native music and dance which was much varied in the Caribbean.

"Most social dancers practice the philosophy of continuous improvement.
Just get a little better every day."


It is well documented in the US, that Jive and Swing did not come from Africa. It was developed by third and fourth generation Blacks based on their interpretation of the Native Indian music and dance and the Marches of the day. The entire slave population in the Americas developed certain preferences that were alike.  And one them was syncopation which was applied to whatever native music that was around them. A little more syncopation and perhaps they had something new.

"A Dios Le Pido" por Juanes


The Son is what was exported to the US in the 20s as the Rumba. The old Rumba was relegated back to the sticks. And it still had the old standard of the Caribbean, a rock step, on 2 & 3 and a slow step on the 4 & 1. And since the music was accented on the 2, they broke on the 2 count. Same as all the other dances. Then this old Rumba music in Cuba evolved to a faster beat in the 1930s led by the native Cuban musician and composer Arsenio Rodríguez.

"Oye Como Va" por Tito Puente


With a little more syncopation it became the Mambo and made popular by Pérez Prado and Benny Moré. In the US it became more standardized and most of the moves were exactly as the American Rumba. And it drove the fans wild. Enter the slower paced Mambo to make this music more appealing to dancers.

"Volver" por Carlos Gardel


In Havana in the 50s, the melody slowed and was marked strongly on the first downbeat, on the 2 and the rhythm was less frantic. It was soon noticed that the dancers were doing a chassé instead of the slow step. Thus improvising their footwork and producing the sound "cha-cha-cha". The new style came to be known as "cha-cha-chá" and became associated with a dance where dancers perform a chassé. And new music evolved from there.

Now where did the Salsa come from? Oh Boy.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Da Rail Crisis

The New Dance Club in the West will almost certainly have to find a good Community Center, One that they can also help by having an occasional Center Fund Raiser. We wouldn't mind having to pay for a new Dance Floor as long as we can use it.


In China, when it happened 5 years ago, they said it wouldn't happen again. Plenty killed but good thing it did not fall on a lot of people the way it will in Honolulu.

According to the 2012 Texas A&M Transportation Institutes's annual urban mobility report — a study of 498 urban areas in America — road congestion is a problem plaguing each segment of society. It results in wasted time and fuel costs, more damage to the environment and increased frustration.



Ten times cheaper than rail, five times more efficient. 100 cars missing right in
front of each bus. (drivers in bus, sitting down) And I coulda got the bus right around the corner where I always got it. Shucks, Now I gotta buy a car.

Yet on Oahu, they insist on making public transportation uncomfortable for the users. At one time it was a pleasure to take the C bus to town and leave the car home. Now with the Rail Crisis having need for the money, they cut back on the bus service converting them to "cattle cars" and it is back to driving the car. With a good bus service, it would be a great beginning. Yes, we know, it the dough, Flo.


The industrial park like the one in Waipio. Those smart people got in just under the wire before the Present Rail Party got control of the politics. Valuable to so many citizens of the community. "I coulda got home in 20 minutes." But now industrial parks have been continually voted down by the Present Rail Party. 3 maybe 4000 less cars on the freeway to and from town. 4000 less cars in Honolulu traffic. But it's the bread, Fred. Huge Profits in the Rail Mess. Honolulu in the hole already for 26 million because of the Rail Tragedy and you ain't seen nuttin' yet.

36% of City Tax Revenue to go to Rail
"So either you raise taxes, you cut services, or you do a combination of both," Cayetano told KITV4. "I think that the mayor and the City Council are going to have to deal with that."

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Will Go Up?

Amazing how this blog is holding up neck and neck with Extrava Danza. But I am beginning to wonder if the names of the blogs have something to do with it. Extrava Danza has been covering the Live Music and dance scene, while, Ritmo Mestizo has been covering the Latin Music and dance scene. They are both at the bottom of the totem pole in the upper teens in average hits per day,

"The only way to avoid being miserable is not to have enough
leisure to wonder whether you are happy or not." 


Of course, the other blogs have been getting some of the hits. The entire blogosphere is improving and seven blogs seem to be about right. Platinum Horseshoe and Town Dancer are leading the way. And most of the content has been SOS (in blogging, short for same old shit.) So it should be obvious to all that a couple of Two Centers and a Guest Author would send the hits up through the roof.  And this applies to any of our blogs. And of course feedback in the comments section of every blog would be very valuable.

"I Will Dance For You" by Willie K.


The reader/dancers seem to remain interested in Live Music on Oahu. We just don't get enough information from the fans of Live Music. There will eventually be someone willing to share their precious information with the reader/dancers for the benefit of everyone, Either one of these blogs is capable of beating the front runners. Then independence? I plan on getting rid of the best one when it gets over 133 average hits per day which is equivalent to 4000 hits per month.

 "Make Me Smile" by Chicago


Meanwhile there seems to be an increase in Bachata and Salsa venues in town. Could there be more of this type of dancing? We will help whenever and wherever we can. There also seems to be more Tango dancers, more Swing dancers, more Line dancers. What's going on? And this is with the steady, run of the mill dancing crowd, the over thirty social dancers. Looking good in spite of the Rail Disaster!

"Social dancers know that moving to music with the feet is one thing
but moving to the music with the body is quite another thing."


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Pre Columbus Music

From the beginnings of civilization on the American continent in Mexico, some 5000 years ago, music has been linked to almost every human activity. Yes, I know you thought it was invented in Africa. Religion, war, ceremonies, births, feasts, games, love, and death had unique and unmistakable musical contexts. And it was all incorporated into the culture of the rising civilizations in Mexico beginning with Olmecs.

"Dance culture on Oahu does not change because we desire to change it. Culture changes when it reflects the realities of the dancers working together everyday."


The Even step, the Rock step and the Chassé had all evolved even before the Olmecs, but they refined all dancing with Professional Dancers. In the early times, the character of the music was more functional than aesthetic. For this reason, about 4000 years ago, instruments were conceived in accordance with the spiritual requirements of each situation, and great attention was paid to the acoustical quality. As professional musicians evolved, the forms of birds, animals, metaphysical entities, and people of the time were incorporated into many instruments.

"Adoro" por Armando Manzanero


The music and dance evolved through the Toltecs and the Mayans and had over 2000 different dances each with its appropriate music. And most of their dances were with the most basic steps, even step, rock and chassé. But you think you invented a new one. Yeah, man.  At the same time they were building bigger pyramids than the Egyptians and more of them. There were over 4 million inhabitants in Mexico when the first illegal aliens arrived. I guess to teach them about music and dance.

"Maria Elena" por Los Indios Trabajaras


The Latin Waltz that is spreading more heavily all over Latin America (even the Caribbean) has very little even step. Most Latin waltz music is dividing slow and fast measure. The slow in the first part and the second part is fast. However, some get a little fancy and have the first third, slow, the middle third fast and the last third, slow again. The slow danced with Rock Step. and the fast with the Chassé. I have digital samples in song videos, can be played only on a computer.

"Excellent dance organizations don't believe in excellence -
only in constant improvement and constant change."