Warm glow of a Cuban night at Alban Arena
I DIDN T know what to expect from Pasion de Buena Vista on Saturday night at the Alban Arena but I had high hopes, some of which were fulfilled. I knew it contained dancing which I imagined would have a high salsa content. I also imagined that it would co
I DIDN'T know what to expect from Pasion de Buena Vista on Saturday night at the Alban Arena but I had high hopes, some of which were fulfilled.
I knew it contained dancing which I imagined would have a high salsa content. I also imagined that it would contain some wonderful music popularised by Ry Cooder on the splendid Buena Vista Social Club album.
I was not disappointed in either.
After a very unpromising, uncertain beginning which made me think we were in for a night of Cuban tourist propaganda, the show found its stride.
The eight-piece live band and dancers soon had everyone's toes tapping and people jiggled in their seats clearly loving the infectious rhythms and joyous movements.
The dancers offered every kind of Latin dance imaginable from salsa and son, to mambo, rumba, cha cha char (as Strictly's Craig would have it). They smouldered with passion and impressed us with their athleticism and high-kicking enthusiasm.
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But I'm afraid the stars of the show for me were the more elderly singers who brought to mind the ageing artistes "discovered" by Ry Cooder in Havana and catapulted into worldwide fame. Their seemingly effortless laid-back style of delivery combined with their sheer coolth exuded a sensuous appeal.
The only damp squib for me was the master of ceremonies who caused me to cringe every time he appeared to tell us how much we were going to enjoy the next bit. My companion at one stage felt we had been wafted to an old-style Butlins holiday camp.
We were warned that we would experience the heat and passion of a Cuban night and I think everyone left the theatre feeling a warm glow from the fiery rhythms despite the clunky MC - certainly not because of him.