A New Sunday Kind Of Love

Posted on Feb 25, 2015

Once upon a time, I was a rotating resident DJ/Host at Jelly’s Dance Cafe which was a Salsa lover’s phenomenon on Sundays.  The place was always packed with dancers, music aficionados and hangers on.  The level of music was incredible from both band and dj – there was a strong connection between performers, dancers and the public.  Salseros, Timberos y Los Bailadores had a place where everyone was part of the family.  Jelly’s closed down in 2010.  Different promoters have tried to capture the magic but few have lasted.  Koketos, a Sunday party born last Summer in Belmont at the St. James Gate Irish Pub is the latest contender that actually is reminiscent of the same set up as Jelly’s.  The place has an indoor/outdoor scenario-each with a stage, dance floor and full bar.  They are featuring live Salsa bands such as Bembe and Pa’l Bailador as well as DJ Antonio (who was a monthly resident DJ in the final years at Jelly’s) who spins in a Cuban/Timba style mixing in Salsa and Bachata.  The party is run by the charismatic husband/wife team of Eric and Grace Rivera with the sound run by Len Johns.  The inside room was set up for the show the Sunday that I visited due to cold outside weather.  It’s a smaller space than the outside patio but had a warm, cozy feel.  This popular place will be one of the main places to go on a Sunday once the warmer weather hits..the patio has plenty of room to accommodate a large crowd.  Over in Sausalito, the Seahorse has been the enduring contender in the Sunday Salsa sweepstakes outside of El Rio and The Ramp.  It’s an Italian restaurant that has a large dance floor but does not have an outdoor or a patio space for dancing.  It’s been the home of Salsa and Cuban bands such as La Moderna Tradicion, Edgardo y Candela, Louie Romero’s Mazacote, Fito Reinoso and others.  DJ’s Ian, Jose Ruiz (KPFA/KPOO) and Carlitos Way rotate each week.  The Sunday parties are hosted by Linda Wosskow, one of the original co-founders of the late Sunday Jelly’s scene.  The place serves beer and wine only.  As a reflection of today’s audiences, The Seahorse caters to an older crowd while Koketos caters to a wider and younger range of salseros.  Both places strive to capture the Jelly’s type of ambience.  However, each place has it’s own unique charm and in their own way…trying to keep Salsa alive in this day and age.