"A bad dancer blames his feet" -- Russian proverb
September 12, 2011 12:17 AM   Subscribe

Please help me find wedding-appropriate music with a Salsa-like beat, that is not exactly Salsa.

Hi there,

Myself and my fiance are getting married soon (yay!). We are going to have a good party to celebrate with our friends and family, and would like to make sure there is some good dancing happening. Particularly, we want to make sure that we get to dance a bit. The problem is, we aren't really very good dancers...

Over the past year or so, we did take a few salsa classes, and really enjoyed them. We even have some moves down that would be fun to unleash on our combined audience. However, as fun as salsa music is, it doesn't really mesh well with our American/Russian/Israeli crowd. It's my feeling that many people will feel plain awkward dancing to this music they have not been exposed much to, with words they do not understand.

So what I would like to do is find some music which satisfies these conditions:
-- Has a beat similar enough to Salsa that two people whose dance experience is almost entirely Salsa (and not much of it, at the end of the day) can groove to, and that people who do not dance Salsa per se still have a chance to do whatever it is they do to.
-- Avoid top 40 kinds of track, as that is not much of our scene either (our tastes tend to run towards folk/hipster rock end of a spectrum, but good luck finding a fast beat in there!)
-- Suggestions for full albums, or at least songs that go well when played back-to-back would be most appreciated!
-- If there is one song that you can think of that would make a great first dance song at a wedding, do tell!

This may not be all possible, but I figured I'd give it a shot here anyway. Your feedback is appreciated!
posted by blindcarboncopy to Media & Arts (6 answers total)
why not check out some internet radio stations that play Latin music, of various kinds, and see what you like?
posted by thelonius at 12:33 AM on September 12, 2011

Any of the mambo songs from Dirty Dancing. (Salsa is the club version of mambo)
posted by -harlequin- at 1:10 AM on September 12, 2011

I cannot dance to salsa, but I can dance to merengue, which sounds to me a lot like salsa but with an easier-to-detect and more straightforward, 4/4 beat. We played a lot of it at our wedding, and not just the Ecuadorians were dancing.
posted by troywestfield at 6:03 AM on September 12, 2011

To elaborate on the above, mambo and salsa are very compatible. They use many of the same steps, and adapting from one to the other is easy. Mambo may be more familiar to your audience than salsa, but salsa is pretty popular these days and I doubt that they will know any more about mambo than they do salsa.

Merengue has a very different beat from salsa and does not use the same steps. It will be a little bit harder for you to convert what you've learned from salsa class to dancing merengue. On the other hand the basic merengue step is so easy that even a dog can do it.
posted by yeolcoatl at 6:34 AM on September 12, 2011

I don't know if you speak Spanish or not, but lyrics might also be a consideration. Most salsa songs fall into two or three broad categories of lyrics: "she left me and I want to die," "let's have sex," or "hey everybody we're dancing salsa." You probably don't want songs in the first category at a wedding, even though they're usually slower and sound more romantic. Merengue places a larger emphasis on the latter two categories.
posted by yeolcoatl at 6:38 AM on September 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Look up Yma Sumac's "Mambo!" album. Classic!
posted by hermitosis at 9:12 AM on September 12, 2011

« Older Command, Conquer, and Friend.   |   Caramelised chutney, fixes or suggestions for use Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.