What makes this dance recognizable? What is typical, distinctive or characteristic?

A fairly straightforward dance with the rhythm and movements seem as cut in pieces because a foot is only placed on the three beats of the measure, and on the fourth beat is not.


Mambo No. 5 - Lou Vega
Kis- kis (Simarik) - Tarkan
Hungry Eyes - Eric Carmen (Dirty Dancing)

BPM: 45-47

Mambo is originally a name that members of the African Bantu tribe gave to one of the musical instruments that they use in their religious rituals. Literally it means: converse with the gods. It is sometimes suggested that Mambo was the name of a Voodoo priestess.

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In the 18th century, African slaves who fled from Haiti to Cuba put elements of their own rhythms in there brought by the Spaniards but originally an English country dance. The result is intended to be a couple dance, a little stiffly. But in the 19th century, when the colonial yoke disappears, he breaks out into wild spontaneity. This new music is called Danzon.

Early 20th century, the orchestra' that put less emphasis on the horns were called charangas. One of these orchestras add to the Danzon the elements of the Cuban son. This is how the mambo was born. The son (after Danzon) may be considered the mother of all Latino music, and is most similar to mambo.

The history of modern mambo begins in 1938 with a so-called Danzon which was called "Mambo", and was written by Orestes and Cachao López.

Influences from European ballroom dancing, country dancing and the French and Spanish contra dance originated with some African rhythm influences the Mambo.

In 1943, the dance was popularized by the great Cuban bandleader and musician Perez Prado. He brought the music in 2/4 or 4/4 size and the dance conquered after Mexico also New York City.

Then also joined other mambo musicians like Enrique Jorrin in the footsteps of Prado. The mambo was popular in the United States, Central America and Cuba until the sixties. A combination of the boogaloo and the pachanga (modern forms of mambo) were later invented.

Especially in the forties and fifties, the genre is popular, also in New York, where also jazz musicians experiment with it. Unfortunately, the mambo in Europe probably had not the same success because there was no proper mambo music available. For that reason, the mambo is not on the list of international dance competitions.

A more straightforward version of the mambo is the cha cha cha. In Europe, especially the chachacha was picked up.

The mambo is again very popular in recent years thanks to the by the American Ry Cooder created Cuban all-star band Buena Vista Social Club.

The dance is the late 80s again very popular thanks to the movie Dirty Dancing where Patrick Swayze teaches this dance in a romantic way to Jennifer Grey.

In 1999 Lou Bega blew the genre and a modern remix of Prado 's Mambo No.. 5 into new life. To date, the mambo is partly by this hit, popular in dance schools.

The dance is rhythmically similar to the slower bolero, but has more complex dance patterns. The mambo is a 4/4 size. As in many Latin American dances hips should move rhythmically.

The mambo is exceptional also danced on the two, starting on count two of the music as it is done in the salsa.

The difference between Mambo and Salsa.

The base is fundamentally the same. The Mambo came first. Some conductors refuse to call their music Salsa. They swear by the original. As music and dance Salsa is usually slower. Mambo is more linear, cut and blocked. Salsa more lateral and circular, rounder and smoother, and with an exuberant arrangement. It is mainly about a different feeling.