DANCING Mambo

SWAY

When my teacher of English told us to make a song review, I immediately thought that I wouldn’t be able to do it. To be honest, a critic requieres a deep knowledge of the matter and maintain an independent point of view. You can´t critizise anything if you are sentimentally involved with it. In fact, the song I am going to comment is one of my favourite. I love this dancing song and for this reason I am not able to say anything bad  about it.

It is obvious that there are many kinds of music for different people or moments. If you are tired, perhaps you prefer a relaxing song. If you  feel melancholic a love song will fit your mood perfectly. To a  rebellious teenager, heavy music is suitable too. In my case I´ve chosen a song mixing a bit of all these things. For me “sway” is a blend of Latin music, English lyrics and hot rhythm.

Sway was composed in the 50´s by the Mexican bandleader Pablo Beltrán Ruiz with its original Spanish name ¿Quién será?  Its easy rythm, performed by the cuban singer Dámaso Pérez Prado, soon reached huge popularity among Latin American bands. At those times, II World War II had recently finished and euphoric by the huge economic development in USA, the bands used to collect vibrant themes from the rest of the continent. But this song,  when translated, didn´t sound well  in English, so Norman Gimbel changed not only the title but also the words.  Adapting the lyrics and preserving the rythm, Gimbel, got a colourful, romantic and fiery passionate  theme.  From this point of view perhaps the English version is better than the Spanish original one. The well known singer-actor Dean Martin (dead in 1995) soon popularized this first English version leading it to the hit parade in USA and Britain.

The rythm, a mix of cha, cha, cha and mambo, reminds me the strong taste of tropical countries, the hot Caribbean and Brazil, like a reminiscence of powerful African drums, complemented and softened by  the short appearances of  the violins. The song immediately makes you move, turning the atmosphere from lethargic to electric with its up-tempo bars but ending up in a decreasing lower rhythm that leaves you calm and relaxed again.

Among the many singers and versions I prefer the faster new one sang on the movie Shall we dance? (2004) by the  mocking Pussycat Dolls. The video shows these girls dancing the theme

and some scenes of the film, starring by Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez.  You can watch the lyrics, with the same music, in another one

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