Los Morenos
Rhumba Flamenca

Venue: Massey Theatre, New Westminster
7 February 2003

Reviewer: Ed Farolan

Calgary's hottest Latin band, Los Morenos, led by Mauricio Moreno (guitarist) and his wife Eleanor (vocalist) weren't as hot as expected. Originally from El Salvador, Moreno made his mark in Calgary with Rhumba Flamenca, a mish-mash of Latin music with a Flamenco flavour. Apparently, this kind of music is hot in Alberta, but I didn't feel it sizzle in the Massey Theatre.

I guess because it was cold inside; Mauricio was even warming his hands and complaining of the cold onstage. Or perhaps British Columbians are more conservative when it comes to this kind of music, except for a few, who were hee-hawing at the back. These may have been Calgarian groupies cheering the Salvadorenan along.

Moreno and his wife (who reminds me of Roseanne) go one step further: They go African and East Indian! Moreno himself admits that his music goes beyong the bounds of merely Rhumba and Flamenco. In fact, the show looked like an international festival, with an African-costumed woman dancing to the beat of the drums. Then comes in a Ravi-Shankar type of East Indian, dressed in regional outfit, beating his Indian drums humming a tune even louder than Mrs Moreno, as she sings in badly pronounced Spanish.

The kind of music Latins play is dance music, and people have to dance to this kind of beat. After constantly encouraging the audience to dance, four women finally came up to do so. Moreno was relieved: getting people to dance was like pulling teeth from an unwilling audience.

Although I found this multicultural group (composed of two Latins, an East Indian, a Chinese, and two Caucasians) very good in their renditions, I would have preferred to hear them in a dance hall and dance to their music rather than sitting it out in a theatre.

© 2003, Ed Farolan