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Mambo / Salsa History

The Mambo dance originated in Cuba's Haitian settlements. In Haiti back country, the "Mambo" is a voodoo priestess, serving the villagers as counselor, healer, and exorcist, their soothsayer and organizer of public entertainment. The actual moment associating the voodoo priestess with the fascinating rhythm resulting from Mambo's fusion of Swing and Cuban music is, sadly, lost.

The "Mambo" dance is attributed to Perez Prado who introduced it at La Tropicana, a nightclub in Havana in 1943. The Mambo was originally played as a Rumba might be, but with a riff ending, a very fast Rumba, with a break or emphasis on beats 2 and 4.

Mambo music's origins: Arsenio Rodriguez, a famous, and blind, Cuban tres player, built Mambo from the "Diablo Rhythm" of the Congolese Abakua religion, taught to him by his grandfather, a former slave. The rhythm is born of the African Batá Drums, consisting of three hand-held drums, the Iyá, Itótele and the Okónkolo. These drums play a key role in the development of all contemporary Latin music.

Mambo first appeared in the United States at New York's Park Plaza Ballroom - a favorite hangout of enthusiastic dancers from Harlem.

Salsa - Page 2
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