Henry Knowles – on a music mission in Pattaya

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Pattaya is well known for its variety of nightly entertainment venues, including bars and restaurants with live bands, discos and dance clubs.  But it’s very seldom that we hear about Latin Salsa dancing and music, which can be very addictive when we take the time to tune into it. 

Not long ago Henry Knowles, a New Yorker of Puerto Rican descent, came to organize Latin Saturdays at the Havana Bar & Restaurant, Holiday Inn Pattaya.  Using his experience as a popular disc jockey in various countries Henry has now managed to create a major attraction for both Thais and expatriates in Pattaya, and all those who attend the Latin evenings immediately begin to find themselves falling in love with Salsa dancing.

Young, local hipsters get into the Salsa mood at Havana Bar.Young, local hipsters get into the Salsa mood at Havana Bar.

Henry’s love for this music was born during family parties in New York and childhood summers spent in Puerto Rico.  He has worked as a disc jockey, video DJ, master of ceremonies, sound engineer and promoter in major nightclubs and venues around the world, including the most famous nightclubs in NYC such as the Copacabana, where he was the main DJ for over five years.  He believes his travels are an opportunity to share his skills, talents and experience with aspiring disc jockeys.  Henry has held workshops, sharing with his comrades his secrets on working the floor and the latest and most effective mixing techniques.

DJ Henry Knowles.DJ Henry Knowles.

Henry made his first international DJ appearance in Asia in 1994, which was in Tokyo, Japan and he was inspired by the cultural differences he encountered.  He first visited Thailand in 2005 and immediately fell in love with the country and its people.  He started to visit more times a year and extended his stays each time.

“I love Thailand, especially Bangkok and Pattaya, which are the two most important cities in this country from an entertainment perspective,” says Henry.  “I’ve seen Pattaya change quite a bit since my first visit here.  Tourism does affect everything, but there are also many local and expat people living here, always looking for something different from the norm… so why not Latin music and dance?  Latin music is still quite virgin here in Thailand, but I am hoping that I can contribute to its growth here and also in other parts of Asia.  There are currently more and more people learning to dance Latin here in Thailand and I am just trying to get people to stop for a moment and actually listen to the music.”

Henry says he would like to see more Latin acts and music get exposure here in Pattaya and in Thailand in general: “I would love to see at least one Latin band featured at some of the music festivals here, I think many people might be blown away,” he says.  “I would also love to book some Latin artists and bands here, and possibly bring some Thai influence to Latin music, as many other cultures have.  Latin music, especially Salsa, can be very addictive once you get a taste of it.  It’s the perfect music to lift your spirits!”

Henry currently hosts weekly Latin Saturdays in Pattaya from 8 p.m. – late at the Havana Bar, Holiday Inn Pattaya (no cover charge), and Salsa Tuesdays at the Spanish on 4 Restaurant, Silom soi 4, Bangkok from 9 p.m. -midnight (250B cover charge).