Salsa swings in Latino Dallas.



The difficult financial crisis affecting the world, and the U.S. in particular, impacted every type of industry, and for the purpose of this article, the music scene. We have confirmed the existence of the following factors: the decline of record labels, the lack of clubs/venues for the performing artists, commercial airplay (as usual) for only a chosen few, no real record promoters available for the radio stations that still exist, less print media or television coverage for the Latin musicians, and an increase m independent artists and their Internet presence.

Strangely enough, there has been a rise of non-commercial radio airplay and of too many Internet DJs with insufficient talent to produce a comprehensive program. Today, many unqualified people believe they are DJs, and with the latest technology at their fingertips, numerous "experts" are cropping up. Everything has changed, and everyone is looking for a way to keep the music alive.

This is where the story takes us to the city of Dallas, Texas, where it seems that the financial recession has taken a turn for the better (more than $12 billion in developments are underway in the Dallas area), as my recent visit uncovered. Thanks to my host and tour guide Rikki Giselly Rincon--a former DJ-turned-promoter and now a columnist for Dallas' Street Magazine--I quickly learned that the downtown district is thriving with economic expansion and growth, especially in the entertainment field, thus making the city a wonderful place for vacationing. The Latino component of the city is taking full advantage of this boom.

On the first night, a visit to La Joya Restaurant (near the city's airport) made me notice that this was the "in-place" for dancers and followers of, with DJ music that showed what Latin Dallas is all about ... salsa, bachata, merengue and the occasional cumbia, mixed and remixed by the DJ.

From La Joya, accompanied by Rincon and Latin Beat's good friend Willie Martinez--who now lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, operating his successful cigar business, Latin Quarter House of Cigars--I traveled to the Mambo Cafe in Downtown Dallas. At the Mambo Cafe, Orquesta Sabor y Clave delighted a more mature crowd with a set comprised mostly of those covers that are commonly performed by today's live bands.

The next day was dedicated to getting a view of Downtown Dallas (made up of thirteen districts). This downtown area has not only become the largest...

To continue reading