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 Product Review: 
Mike Bello's AOTC Salsa/Mambo
Practice & Counting CD

-by Manny Siverio

Product Description       Manny's Take       SalsaNewYork Rated       How to Buy

Mike Bello is an LA mambo instructor (formerly from NY) who heavily emphasizes hearing the rhythm of the clave & tumbao in the music. He teaches regular workshops on rhythm and music and has used this knowledge to produce a couple of instructional/practice CD's. This month SalsaNewYork reviews his first CD entitled "Mike Bello's AOTC Salsa/Mambo Practice & Counting CD".

Description Of Product
Clave & Tumbao (First half of the CD)

Track 1. Introduction - 2:18 minutes/seconds
Mike Bello explains the 3 ways someone can listen to Salsa Music (listening to the count (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8), the clave and the tumbao).
Track 2. Clave & Tumbao - 28:40 minutes/seconds
The second track continues to play the rhythm of the clave and the conga's tumbao that Mike Bello introduces and describes in Track 1. Its an excellent training tool for an instructor to use in class, especially when working with beginners. The length of the track gives students an excellent opportunity to not only listen to the clave/tumbao, but to practice dancing to the beat and tempo of the song. 

Synchronized  Counting (Second half of the CD)
The second half of the CD contains four fully produced songs with synchronized counting mixed in so that the listener can count the beats and figure out phrasing on their own. The first three songs are first done with synchronized counting then repeated a second time without the counting so that the listener can try doing it on their own. The very last song has an eight-beat primer to get the listener started in the count. 
Track 3. La La Means I Love You - (w/ Synchronized counting) - 4:09 mins/sec
Track 4. La La Means I Love You - (w/ Synchronized counting) - 4:07 mins/sec
Track 5. Amnesia - (w/ Synchronized counting) - 5:16 mins/sec
Track 6. Amnesia - (w/ Synchronized counting) - 5:14 mins/sec
Track 7. Quisa Sea Mi Culpa - (w/ Synchronized counting) - 3:49 mins/sec
Track 8. Quisa Sea Mi Culpa - (w/ Synchronized counting) - 3:48 mins/sec
Track 9. Mujer (Starts with counting primer to get you started on your own).

Manny's Take:
Mike Bello's Timing/Counting CD delivers. It provides the listener with a clear method of hearing and counting the rhythm of the music that is so crucial to all mambo dancers (especially beginners). This is the very foundation to all Salsa/Mambo Dancing which the more advanced dancers take for granted (because they do it automatically), yet beginners struggle to hear. The CD begins with a simple introduction on what to listen for in a song (counting beats, hearing the clave and hearing the tumbao of the congas) and then smoothly dissolves into the practice song itself. I love the fact that the practice song is over 28 minutes long. It means that an instructor using it in class won't  have to stop what he is doing in order to reset the song or wait for the song to repeat on his CD player. The tempo of the song is also ideal for beginners who are working on combining steps while trying to synchronize them to music. The synchronized counting segment gently pushes the listener along. First by "verbally" holding their hands by counting for them in the first variation of the song, then by letting them swim on their own in the second version of the same song. I myself have found it to be valuable tool to use and have incorporated it whenever I help teach beginners in one of Addie Diaz's mambo classes.

SalsaNewYork Rating system:
This Product Rated a 6 out of 8 beat clave.

1-2 beats = Awful, don't waste your time or money
3-4 beats = Poor, might offer some valuable information to some dancers
5-6 beats = Good, not perfect but worth the investment
7-8 beats = Excellent, ideal training tool for instruction and/or learning

Where To Buy This Product:
ATOC (Always On The Clave)
Bello Music Enterprises
18653 Ventura Blvd., Suite 381
Tarzana, California, 91356
The URL to the CD's and other stuff is here: click product link on left side of page on www.mambofello.com


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