When the Salsa Gods Smile

A kiss on the cheek from ?El bomb?n de la Salsa?

By Dena Burroughs
Published on LatinoLA: May 15, 2002

When the Salsa Gods Smile

This past Saturday night, the Salsa gods looked down on me in unison and smiled!

Those of you who, like me, go out to dance two or three times each week, know that after a while most evenings become predictable and pretty much uneventful. That is why it is so great when things just seem to work together to make one night special. Such was the case for me last Saturday.

?La Gigante Tropical-1090 a.m.? radio station, sponsored a ?Revent?n?: a Rey Ruiz and La Banda Gorda concert at the Hollywood Park Casino, with the promotion of Solosabor.com. Although the place was not overly crowded, it had enough people to be quite lively. I got there while DJ Pedro El Sabroso warmed up the crowd with merengue, salsa, even a few bachatas, and everyone seemed happy dancing to his selections.

Just a while later, I unexpectedly met up with my friend Barry McManus, a percussionist himself and a regular attendee to Salsa events. I mention him here specifically because, as I will explain later on, the highlight of my evening came along thanks to him.

As the faithful salsera I am, I was there mainly to see Rey Ruiz, and it was not long before it was time for ?El bomb?n de la Salsa? to come on stage.

Yes girls, he really IS as cute as he looks on the CD covers!

Rey sang many of his hit songs, including ?Mi media mitad? and ?Luna Negra?. The crowd loved him, sang along with him, for him, instead of him, and those of us that love dancing, danced non-stop throughout his set.

I loved every minute of his show? but I was going to love the following ten minutes even more. I don?t even know how, but Barry got me ?back stage?, where I found myself right in front of ?El bomb?n? himself. In a minute, my left shoulder became his support as he autographed a piece of paper for me, and the next minute, I was getting kissed twice on my right cheek! I hate to sound like such a girl, but yes, I was then in Salsa heaven! I could have gone home right then and be contented the rest of the month.

But I did not. I wanted to listen to La Banda Gorda. Barry had been talking up a storm about them. They were his reason for being there that night. If you have never been much into merengue, let me tell you this much?that feeling will go away once you hear some good live merengue, such as La Banda Gorda?s. Those guys ?rocked? the place.

The energy of the group while singing ?Tu muere aqu?? and ?Dame agua? was unbelievable, and their choreography was great. You know a group is good when it makes your feet move alone, and mine did that until 2 a.m. If you have never heard this band live, do yourself a favor and attend their next concert. Esos Dominicanos really know what they are doing!

I left the Casino around 2:30 a.m., contented and exhausted, hanging on tight to Rey?s autograph and vowing never to wash my right cheek ever again. I also left the Casino with a newfound love for live merengue.

This will certainly keep me going until they next time the Salsa gods smile on me.

About Dena Burroughs:
Dena Burroughs is a die-hard salsera and a LatinoLA Correspondent.

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