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Melena at the Dell

Below pano is first year she was at Dogwood Dell : http://otway.wordpress.com/2010/08/14/richmond-4th-annual-latin-jazz-show-festival/

I just happen on this festival coming off the river in 2010 and have been back to see Melena the past two years. My wife got to go to this last one and helped me film.



Xavier Cugat’s bands always had performers on stage showing the audience the latest dance. The Latin show at the Dell continues in this tradition. Melena along with being a amazing percussionist adds so much extra with her dancing!

”Rumba King” Xavier Cugat was the first bandleader to front a successful Latin orchestra in the United States. Affectionately known as ”Cugie,” he was largely responsible for popularizing Latin music among North American audiences, paving the way for such future stars as Desi Arnaz, Perez Prado, and Tito Puente.

The term ‘rumba,’ which was often spelt ‘rhumba’, was coined in America at this time to refer to Cuban son and Americanized forms of son. The real vocal and percussion-led Cuban rumba would probably not be known by the hotel audiences or by the recording companies themselves.

“I learned very early that everyone in the United States specialized in something . . . so I decided to
specialize in tropical music – we called it the rumba abierta then. Today they call it salsa, but it’s all
basically the same thing.”

Xavier Cugat




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