Best Cuban Music Night (2008)


The salsa and occasional fusion styles played at "Cubansoul"—Nell's on Wednesdays—tend toward the traditional, though don't take this to mean more "Cuban": In Havana I gathered that the international pop diaspora isn't restricted there by choice so much as by political and financial finagling—too few off-island records. But kudos to the pre-Castro gangster's paradise conceit wherein soft chandelier light beams through an ethnic kaleidoscope of sound and clientele. Take it as testament that so many patrons move with such fluid grace, and that others make a go at dancing salsa when they're not scissoring their lower halves to the simpler merengue beats peppering between-the-live-sets upstairs mixes. In the basement, past the posh seating, the button-downs come unbuttoned and dancing-shoes- gone-skates spin with the vinyl like centrifuges sifting out hipster and yuppie sensibilities (read American Psycho; Pat Bateman and friends loved pre-"Cubansoul" Nell's) in favor of footloose Latin fanaticism.


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