With the Cha-Cha running through his Latin blood, DJ Abel (full name Abel Aguilera) pumps the energy with his tribal house sets. A resident DJ for the Alegria events, his new mixed CD set Alegria Universo captures the spirit of world-renowned and often fifteen-hour marathon events. Not just one of the most in-demand circuit DJs, Abel also works with Ralphi Rosario as the Rosabel team, responsible for fierce remixes of all of clubland's finest divas - Gloria Estefan, Donna Summer, Cher, CeCe Peniston, and Amber – to name just a few.
DJ Ron Slomowicz: So what is the cha-cha?
Abel: My cha-cha or the real cha-cha?
RS: Go either way.
Abel: OK, well the cha-cha is just pretty much rhythm. It's like a Latin rhythm, drum-influenced. It's what makes our booties shake the hardest when we're at a club.
RS: Do you think it only exists in tribal house, or is it in
other kinds of dance music also?
Abel: Oh no, cha-cha comes from Cuban music, cha-cha-cha. So it's pretty much in other types of music as well, but it really comes from a Cuban background.
RS: So this new CD, Alegria Universal, what was the inspiration behind it?
Abel: Actually the inspiration behind it is the unity of countries that we have at the event. We have people coming from all parts of the world, literally. It's no joke – people come from London, we've had people come from China, from South America, they come from everywhere. We know this from the ticket sales and also in eMails, people tell us where they come from. They come from Spain, they come from everywhere. So the name that I gave the CD was meant to be the world of Alegria, but I wanted to put it in a kind of universal world. It's pretty much Latin, meaning world of Alegria. That's why the music also caters to different parts – there's Spanish, there's European, there's our stuff. It's a blend of all the continents put together.
RS: Going back a second, what exactly is Alegria, for those who
Abel: Alegria is based out of New York City. Now it's residence is at a club called Mansion, which was formerly known as Crobar.
RS: Is it a weekly thing or a monthly thing?
Abel: No, it's only on holidays. There's usually seven to eight events a year.
RS: Who are the normal DJs who spin this party?
Abel: Normally I'm the resident DJ, and then after me comes Tony Moran and then Eddy Alias, and me and Ralphi together as Rosabel.
RS: How do you two DJ together - two people on two decks?
Abel: Well, we've been working together for over fifteen years, and we both know each others' tastes and sounds very well. We're actually very similar, and we just do what we have to do live without even thinking about it. We don't plan it, it just happens. A lot of times I'm working two CD players, Ralphi's working two CD players, and we have two mixers, and whenever we feel we should throw something in, we just jump in. We really don't plan. Everything we do is live, and just happens at the moment.