This essay shows how salsa stimulates unruly audition. It responds to that stimulation by performing multi-sensorial poetic listening with the excessive, tender, and queer audio-visual sabores [tastes], gestures, and details of two live performances by the musicians and singers contracted to Fania in the 1970s, one in Yankee Stadium in the Bronx in 1973 and the other in 1974 at Zaire ‘74 in Kinshasa, a music festival of Afro-Latinx, brown, and black sonic solidarity headlining the Ali-Foreman Rumble in the Jungle fight. A riot of audience ended the All-Stars’ set at the 1973 Bronx concert. Their insurgent pleasure compels us to think unruliness with salsa’s listeners, and re-imagine Latinx as a riotous movement of brown and black swerving aesthetic convergences. The essay enacts a deviant and sonically oriented close reading of Héctor Lavoe’s vocals in the song “Mi Gente” [My People], in part, for their attunement precisely to audience and playful dynamics with the band. In this song, Lavoe cries out to “anormales” [abnormals], a sign re-imagined here as an off-kilter feeling for salsa and a multi-sensorial opening for more errant ruptures.
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Research Article| March 01 2019
Salsa’s Unruly Audition: Abnormal Feelings for the 1970s Fania All-Stars
Journal of Popular Music Studies (2019) 31 (1): 65–86.
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Ren Ellis Neyra; Salsa’s Unruly Audition: Abnormal Feelings for the 1970s Fania All-Stars. Journal of Popular Music Studies 1 March 2019; 31 (1): 65–86. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jpms.2019.311008
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