Issac Delgado, Store Vega (May 2012)

Cuban salsa sensation Issac Delgado added a Carnivalesque touch to Vega’s May lineup with a formidable concert at Stor Vega on Friday evening. Delgado, or El Chevere, as he is often called was in a flamboyant mood, backed by his multi-piece orchestra who performed with flair, passion and creativity throughout the lengthy concert. In spite of the ongoing Carnival and Vesterbro Festival, Friday’s show managed to attract quite a decent showing even though it wasn’t sold out.

Danish salsa enthusiast, Stine Ortvald warmed up the venue with a troupe of engaged salsa dancers who did their bit to get the ball rolling, dancing to a rhythmic, pacey mix that got the crowd on their toes. Delgado and his orchestra casually stepped onto the scene a bit later than they’d been scheduled to go on and started the show with several tunes that didn’t really manage to get people dancing. In fact, several songs in, and most of the crowd was still static and unenthused.

Things did heat up however, as Delgado himself became more engaged with the crowd, who responded commendably, as people unleashed the salsa moves they’d been saving all night. Standing in the middle of a Salsa concert’s equivalent of a mosh pit was a unique and interesting experience; a maze of spins, swaps and swift, well-timed movements in tune with the rich percussive elements of the music on stage.

There were smiles and pleasant exchanges all around, as the concert geared up, peaking as a lively if not chaotic ensemble punctuated by epic instrumental moments here and there .In many ways the scene resembled downtown Havana; a warm cocktail of emotions, colours and laughs; people of all ages and of all ethnicities bound together under the banner of rhythmic salsa music.

This reviewer was particularly impressed by a spine-tingling piano solo midway through the performance and a sensational trumpet equivalent towards the end, both of which cemented the foundations of what was a very lively and engaging show at Vega.

Even in spite of the fact that the concert started late and that it took time to climax, credit must be given to Delgado and his orchestra for delivering a steamy concert that managed to create a wonderful sense of collectiveness, a show that salsa enthusiasts will no doubt hold in high regard for quite some time to come.

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