It was a superb salsa workout last night as local Latin bands Diáspora and Mojito put on dazzling performances as part of the Manchester Jazz Festival.
As for Mojito, well, I’m fanatical about their music. If you’re not familiar with them, you might think at first that they’re less polished than the very slick Diáspora, but the fact is they have an inimitable Cuban texture and spontaneity: the music is chunkily percussive, the rhythms magical and muscular, and there’s a huge charm and humour in Damian’s singing. This is real intense Cuban good-time music and it has the hypnotic power of the Orishas, the flavour of Afro-Cuban spirituality inside it. There isn’t another band like Mojito around, and hence the huge following they’ve built up.
Sure enough, they progressively whipped up the audience into sweaty salsa heaven and their final number was a crazy tour-de-force of exuberant vocal gymnastics from Damian, utterly wonderful because he shares so much joy and has such a rapport with his audience.
One plea to the organisers – could we have a real dancefloor next time so the ladies don’t break their heels on the cobbles?
I just hope the Manchester Jazz Festival has won a host of new admirers for these two great Manchester bands – and maybe for salsa too.
Salsa de Cuba
RED & BLACK MUSIC