WATERTOWN, Mass. (A.W.)—On Feb. 13, Black Sea Salsa, the 15-piece Armenian salsa band, performed at the Charles Movsesian Theater at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown, alongside local Latin dance company “Hips on Fire,” which provided a free salsa dance lesson prior to the performance.
Kathy Tompkins, the executive director of the Arsenal Center, introduced the performers. Black Sea Salsa and Hips on Fire started the night with an original composition by bandleader Daniel Teager called “Put Me on the Bus,” accompanied by an explosive and sensual meringue, salsa, and Latin dance compilation by Hips on Fire.
Teager then took center stage and stated, “We’re going to do a signature song now, called ‘The Tavli Song,’ and my wife will lead you in a line dance. Teager prefaced their next song saying, “We usually play a little while before going into this song, but today we’re going to do it early because it’s my kids’ favorite. It’s a calypso called ‘Maria Alejandra.’”
“Maria Alejandra” of all Black Sea Salsa’s repertoire is the one fans wait to hear, with a superb big band flare that mixed Buena Vista Social club gusto with deft ensemble sax and trumpet solos by Anthony Graham and Mark Sanchez on horn.
Equally impressive, with Julie Hunt on vocals, was Black Sea Salsa’s original song “El Mechanico,” also accompanied by the fast and smooth glides and curves of Hips on Fire. It particularly brought back memories of the sidewalk melodies of Miami’s barrio Cubano, teased by Hunt’s double entente, platinum blonde singing of the comically manipulative lyrics of romantic and auto-body deception, “He could say anything and I’d believe him.”
Black Sea Salsa ended their set with Teager saying from stage, “This next song is a ‘bomba’ called ‘Drop by Drop.’ It comes from the old Armenian proverb, ‘Gateel, gateel…’ which means ‘drop by drop, you build a lake.’”
A perfect song of optimism and good humor in times of recession and economic crisis, Black Sea brought up everyone’s spirits that night and a great many hips in the process.
For more information about Black Sea Salsa, to purchase their original album, or to view upcoming concert dates, visit www.BlackSeaSalsa.com.