Rumble in the Jungle


I’m trying to put together a couple of justifying palabras about this video, which I’ve watched about 5-10 times each and every day this past week. Ok, I guess I don’t need to justify it more than that. Here’s the background:

The historic boxing event known as The Rumble in the Jungle,  took place on October 30th, 1974. The setting: Kinshasa, Zaire (now Congo). For those of you who have lived on a different and far away planet for the past 38 years, let me inform you that this was a fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. Ali won by KO in the 8th round, and that’s all I need to say about the fight. I am a lover of music and arts, so naturally I’m more interested in what happened after the fight.
The concert that wrapped up The Rumble in the Jungle is probably one of the places I will visit the day I invent a time machine. Here’s the lineup: BB King, James Brown, Stevie Wonder and the legendary Fania Allstars, including the following: Hector Lavoe, Ismael Miranda, Cheo Feliciano, Roberto Roena, Jorge Santana, Yomo Toro, Celia Cruz, Santos Colon, Ray Barretto, Pete Rodriguez and Ismael Quintana, just to mention some of the names dearest to me.

While James Brown sang out loud “I’m black and I’m proud“, Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez, expressed that same african slave pride through his skills with the percussions. When Roberto Roena set the stage floor on fire with his world famous footwork-  the Kinshasa audience exploded! This was an epic moment for every dancer out there looking to explore the very strong connection between salsa dance and breakdance. I will most likely get back to that topic in a future post.

But, the most epic moment in my opinion was the get together of several huge singers. In true caribbean manners, thesegigantes performed several songs, including “Guantanamera“, side by side, jamming as if they were back in some smoky bar in Ponce, Puerto Rico. No room for divas (and I say that knowing that the DIVA of divas, Celia Cruz, was present). They shared the mic and it resulted into an epic jam, legendary and all those other great words known to man. Enjoy your new addiction. Oh, and by the way, here’s the order of performance: Ismael Quintana, Hector Lavoe, Ismael Miranda and Santos Colon. Conga solo by Ray Barretto.

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