Latin » Tropical » Salsa

Salsa is one of the most dynamic musical styles to come out of the western hemisphere. "Salsa" means "sauce," but the term should not be taken to mean simply hot and vibrant, nor should the music be regarded as such. Salsa is a term much like the word "swing" as it was applied to the jazz swing bands of the 1930s and 1940s. It describes a feeling that covers a wide range of emotions and musical expression. Salsa is not always fast-paced and vivid -- it can be slow and romantic or anything in between. The basic sound of salsa was intact before the term was applied to the music. In the 1940s and '50s, the Cuban sonero Arsenio Rodrigues, a blind tres player, became the dominant trendsetter in Latin music. His ensemble included a piano, a second trumpet, sometimes a saxophone, and an expanded rhythm section that included timbales, conga, and a cowbell. Instrumental parts were standardized and tight pre-set compositions were used. Salsa is also characterized by syncopated bass patterns. The ensembles of Rodrigues became the standard for Cuban dance bands and formed the basis for salsa. Salsa is influenced by many Latin musical forms, like the Puerto Rican plenas, the Dominican merengue, and the Colombian cumbia, but its backbone is the Cuban son. The primary difference between salsa and Cuban music is that salsa has largely developed outside of Cuba. Although salseros are found in most Latin American countries, it is primarily associated with Puerto Rican musicians. The term "salsa" did not come into use until the 1960s. It was applied to the music of Tito Puente and others who had been playing the music for at least 25 years. The term was made popular primarily by Jerry Masucci, the New York-based founder of Fania Records (the largest producer of Latin dance music recordings until the 1980s). The best years for salsa were the 1970s, when Latin Americans were looking back to their roots. This showed in the attitude of salsa musicians looking for stylistic purity. They did so by using smaller band sizes like that of the Cuban conjunto, consisting of a rhythm section with a front line of three to five horns and one or two singers. Although salsa is a Cuban-based musical form (and a commercial form as well), it has served as a rallying point for Puerto Ricans and as an icon of pan-Latin consciousness. Nonetheless, salsa is still a form of dance music subject to the whims of public tastes, and it suffered a decline in popularity in the 1980s as the Dominican merengue became fashionable. Salsa survived in all its dynamism but in a more diffuse environment, as other styles of Latin music become popular on a mass level.

Salsa Artists Highlights

Celia Cruz
Celia Cruz
Eddie Palmieri
Eddie Palmieri
Rubén Blades
Rubén Blades
Ray Barretto
Ray Barretto
Marc Anthony
Marc Anthony
Johnny Pacheco
Johnny Pacheco

More Salsa Artists

Salsa Album Highlights

Rubén Blades y Son del Solar...Live!
Rubén Blades y Son del ...
Rubén Blades y Son del ...
Acid
Ray Barretto
Acid
The Sun of Latin Music
Eddie Palmieri
The Sun of Latin Music
Siembra
Willie Colón / Rubén ...
Siembra
3.0
Marc Anthony
3.0
The Best of Tito Puente: El Rey del Timbal!
Tito Puente
The Best of Tito Puente: ...

More Salsa Albums

Salsa Song Highlights

Title/Composer Performer Stream
Espera Marc Anthony
Acid Ray Barretto
Buscando America Rubén Blades / Seis Del Solar
Che Che Colé Willie Colón / Héctor Lavoe
Salsa y Bembé Joe Cuba Sextet
Ran Kan Kan Tito Puente & His Orchestra
Nunca Voy a Olvidarte India
Me Voy Pa' Cali Oscar D'León
I Need to Know Marc Anthony
Tu Voz Celia Cruz

More Salsa Songs

Other Styles in Tropical