An interview with Luis Felicies AKA DJ Babaloo, Salsa/Mambo Master
February 5, 2006
Check out an event announcement at the end of this article.
I caught up with DJ Babaloo after he did a great job DJing at Club 412.
Robert Abrams: Who inspires you and why?
DJ Babaloo: Celia Cruz & Tito Puente & Ernesto " Cachao " Lopez, Eddie Palmieri. Perez Prado. They are my sources of inspiration because of their accomplishments. The history of their music has left an indelible mark in Latin Music. Celia Cruz's la Guarachera had an attitude in life that sparked a positive outlook. As an artist she was adaptive & respectful of the Latin Culture and all its Diaspora . She overcame the barriers of her time. And anything she did she gave 100% of her artistry. Perez Prado because of his ecclectic taste and arrangements. He was not afraid to stand alone and do what he believed in. He was also a bit wacky in a sort of cartoonish way. Tito Puente was a genius, who studied rhythm and the Latin tempo ceaselessly, adept & adaptive, always pushing the Latin music rhythms to all its boundaries, recognizing it had limitless audiences. Ernesto Cachao Lopez, the Cuban Maestro composer, who's rhythms are still heard today. He is the grandaddy of Mambo Swing. Eddie Palmieri, another Maestro of Puerto Rican Heritage. Palmieri & Puente capture the essence of New York Salsa, the marriage between Latin Rhythm: Bomba Plena, Guaguanco, Mambo, Son Montunos & their jazz experience.
Robert Abrams: What are three of your favorite Salsa tunes?
DJ Babaloo: 1. Ismael Rivera : Moliendo Café. 2. Eddie Palmieri : Un dia Bonito. 3. Celia Cruz : Toro Mata
Robert Abrams: Who are your favorite dance companies and why?
DJ Babaloo: Santorico Dance Company. They have kept the fun edge with elegance in the dance.
Robert Abrams: In addition to Salsa, what other styles of dance and music do you enjoy?
DJ Babaloo: I love hearing "Salsa" interpreted by other international musicians of other languages & culture. I enjoy Afro beat .I am an aspiring & developing producer I like the new Electronica genre… where music is being fused as in say, Gotan Project.
Robert Abrams: What do you like about DJing at Club 412?
DJ Babaloo: I enjoy 412 because it is open to all levels of dancing and all styles that are of NY Style of dancing. I also enjoy it because although deeply rooted in Latin Heritage, it is supported & admired by people of various backgrounds; as result I enjoy the appeals it has to diverse a crowd at venues where I play. New York City is a multi-cultural capital city. I grew up around a lot of Blacks & Latinos & Jews & Chinese. I enjoy ethnic culture more as an asset than as a difference. I celebrate it. I don't separate & divide culture. As a Native New Yorker, I have a dual culture with my relatives in Puerto Rico & in NYC, in addition to extended & surrogate family members that are Asians & Russian Jews. I can't see things in one cultural dimension.
Robert Abrams: What connections between music and dance motivate you?
DJ Babaloo: The connections that motivate in music and dance are the joy & fun of dancing to "Salsa Music". Understanding the rhythm in motion as it transpires onto the dance floor, whether I am dancing or playing as a DJ, there is something that happens when the flow of the rhythm zaps like an field of electricity which words don't describe.
Robert Abrams: From a musical perspective, what is the difference and connection between Salsa and Mambo?
DJ Babaloo: Salsa is a generic term, commercial term for a vast body of rhythms in the Latin Music Diaspora. Mambo was a specific style / genre of music played at certain periods in the history of Latin Music. The Mambo style is repeatedly used in modern day Salsa.
DJ Babaloo hard at work
Photo courtesy of Robert Abrams
DJ BABALOO, NYC
2 Spencer Place #3R
Brooklyn, New York 11216
Artist Mgmt & Bookings:
Web site : http://mysite.verizon.net/vze800jf/djbabaloonycrbprod