Step up and merengue in true Latin Style - salsa sweeps Glasgow.
Every night of the week, Glaswegian clubbers are dipping into the salsa beat. Time to spice up the summer, then.
Words Sarah Lowndes
Salsa fever is gripping Glasgow, with the option to dance to Latin beats now available every night of the week. In addition to clubs such as Havana. which specialise in salsa lessons and club events. smouldering rhythms can now also be found at Glasgow School of Art (Buena Vista. last Friday of every month). Bar Sauza (Brass Trax. Thursdays) and the l3th Note Club (Salsa Sabrosa. every Friday).
"l‘he salsa scene is definitely taking off in Glasgow.‘ enthuses Club Havana‘s resident DJ Shannon Shiell. ‘I think that a lot of people are disillusioned with the whole house and techno scene. where you have to dance alone even if you‘re with a group of people. Salsa is more open and friendly. it gives you the option to meet people. It makes you giddy. it's so much fun.‘
Havana opened five months ago as a combined theme bar and restaurant. and it also includes the Academia de Salsa. where ﬂedgling Latin lovers can pick up some dance steps from trained instructors. On Fridays. it‘s the scene of Sabrosol. run by Shiell and her DJ partner. Duncan Kane.
‘This night is really for ordinary club-goers and isn‘t really specialist in the way that our other club. Club Cuhana. is.‘ says Kane. ‘lt’s a good relaxed environment if you‘re looking to hear some techno merengue. Latin rap. salsa or retro Latin sounds.’
The Academia de Salsa has more than 200 students. who range in age from 18 to 56. ‘Part of the
'Part of the joy of salsa dancing is that it really brings people together. You'll see housewives dancing with students and Metallica fans doing the merengue with lawyers.’
joy of salsa dancing is that it really brings people together.’ Shiell says. ‘At Havana you will see housewives dancing with students and Metallica fans doing the merengue with lawyers.’
This amicable convergence of different social groups is part of the charm of Shiell and Kane’s fortnightly fundraising club. Club Cubana at the Bedsit. Probably the most successful salsa club in Glasgow. Club Cubana raises money for health and education in Cuba. and attracts a wide and loyal audience of all ages.
On the dancefloor tonight. a spandex-clad young lady is trying to teach some basic steps to an enthusiastic but less than rhythmic partner. alongside several couples who most definitely have their moves down. These couples are fascinating to watch: there’s a fluidity about their movements and a rapport between them that is really mesmerising. It‘s romantic and exciting and somehow surprising to see on a rainy Saturday night in Glasgow.
Shiell says that she has noticed a few romances blossoming on the dancelloor too. ‘I wouldn‘t want to describe Havana as a lonely hearts club.‘ she laughs. ‘but it has come to my attention that quite a few bonds have been made here. The music really comes from the heart. Maybe it sets off certain feelings.”
If you would like to try your hand at some salsa dancing. you would do well to try Salsa Y Sabor on Wednesdays at Havana. with its mixture of hard and soft salsa merengue. You also get a free Latin dance class from the Academia de Salsa at 6pm before the club kicks off.
Also highly recommended are Karen Pasi’s salsa classes. held every Friday in the basement of the l3th Note Club in Clyde Street. Classes start at 8pm and you receive a free ticket for Salsa Sabrosa. the club that follows the lessons. Beginners are welcome at both of these dance classes. so there’s no need to feel shy about not knowing your paso doble from your elbow.
For details on all Glasgow's salsa clubs, see listings,
Ege Bam Yasi Phactfil
t " .1 - Name Ege 8am Yasi, Egg to his friends, Jamesy to no one. Age 39.
Place of Origin He’s a bit vague on that one, but east central Scotland pretty much.
Current place of residence? Royal Tunbridge Wells outside London. Occupation Acid house producer, lying journalist and, er, plumber.
How did all this start? Ege Bam Yasi began in the mid 805 as an ultra-weird performance group. The stage act involved Egg and an ex-trainee priest coming on stage dressed in bin bags and squirting shavrng foam out through little holes, a trick they did with a massive papier—méché penis IOO.
Did anything good come out of all this nefarious activity? Ege 8am Yasi were arguably the first group in Scotland to use the seminal groove box the Roland TB 303, the heart of the acid house sound. Bit by bit over the years the group Ege 8am Yasi became the ’one man techno boffin outfit’ recording for Finiflex and com- ing up wrth tracks like 'How to boil an egg’ and the album 'Mother Goose’ on Subversive.
What's he been up to lately? He moved down to London to get more gigs, but got entirely di5illusioned with the music busmess. He left his record company after they said his material 'Wasn't commercial enough'. Earlier this year he became the father of twins which helped him take a further step back from the industry.
What did he do instead? He did a bit of record revuewmg for Eternity Magazine, but because he wasn’t a DJ no one sent him any records. Typical Egg style he dreamt up names of bands, tracks and the music and wrote about them instead. No-one noticed. He‘s been doing a bit of plumbing too. He's still making music though? Yes, but very much on his terms. When he plays at Pure it’ll be the first ever airing of his new, non-acid, ’fucked-up demonic techno‘, which he’ll combine with the classic Ege 8am Yasi sound. (ROry Weller)
Ege Bani Yasi plays live at Pure, The Arches, Sat 22 Aug.
20—27 Aug 1998 rue UST104