Rodrigo on Black Ice & Salsa

Celia Cruz didn’t seem to mind the black ice

It was the winter of  ’91 and I was heading west down #1 in  my blue Chevi van. My long time buddy Gilles (bass player) was sitting in the back not wearing a seat-belt (because there was none), in the passenger seat was our good friend and trombone player Ray Egan (Ray now resides in Florida USA), and the van was loaded with all my percussion instruments and  Gilles’ gear, plus Ray’s trombone and music stand. We were on our way to Brandon to do a gig with Papa Mambo. The other musicians were well ahead of us in other vehicles, it was around 5:30 pm which means that it was already dark. The blue van was equipped with a sweet sounding stereo system and we were making good use of it by listening to The Fania Allstars featuring Celia Cruz. I  even remember the song, it was Bamboleo. The groovy sounds of salsa were blasting away when I felt the van slowly starting to face the wrong direction, we hit black ice and my lack of expertise driving on icy highways shone at the most critical moment.

I heard some swearing coming from the back and a simple but effective “oh oh” from Ray, at this point the vehicle was completely turned around, and in the next second, another added attraction, the van started to roll.

Bamboleo over and over

After rolling a couple of times we landed in the the ditch which (lucky for us) was packed with soft snow. The van came to rest on it’s side, the driver’s side (my side). When I regained consciousness (no joke intended) I could only see out of one eye. There was blood everywhere and as I looked up I could see ray hanging by the waist. I could not make out were Gilles was. As I started to climb out I could hear Bamboleo still blasting out of the powerful speakers, the arrangement was at this point in the montuno section.

Rodrigo Muñoz still listens to Bamboleo to this day, though not while driving on icy roads.

Talk to us