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Salsa can be a blanket term to describe the dance music that comes out of Latin America and the Caribbean, but more precisely, salsa music is a Cuban-influenced genre created in New York City in the 1960s.
What Is Salsa Music and What Is Its Origin?
The word salsa is Spanish for “sauce.” It’s also the name of a dance style and a music genre.
Salsa music is a blend of Afro-Cuban rhythms and Caribbean sounds with elements of North American pop and jazz. The music gained popularity in New York City in the mid-1970s, when Latin musicians began to mix danceable rhythms with blues, rock and soul. Salsa’s popularity peaked during the 1980s, but it remains popular today.
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Salsa evolved from son cubano (Cuban son), which was developed by African slaves in Cuba during the 1800s. The slaves combined their native Yoruba religion with Catholic rituals to create a new form of religious expression that was later called Santeria. Santeria uses drums as an integral part of its rituals. Many people believe that this musical style influenced the Cuban son.
In the 1940s, Cuban musicians blended elements from traditional African music with danzón and bolero to create guaracha, which became popular throughout Latin America at carnival time. Guaracha was played by small bands that were often African American or Afro-Cuban musicians playing on street corners or in nightclubs.
10 Most Popular Salsa Songs
Salsa is a style of music that originated in the Caribbean, especially Cuba and Puerto Rico, but has become popular around the world. It’s a type of dance music that was originally played by large bands with horns, piano and percussion instruments. Some salsa songs have lyrics about love and romance, while others are about social issues such as poverty and immigration.
Here are the top 10 most popular salsa songs:
1. “El Raton” by Joe Cuba Sextet & Cheo Feliciano
This song is a fun, upbeat salsa tune. It’s one of the most famous Salsa songs of all time. The lyrics are also very catchy and easy to remember. The song was written by Joe Cuba and it talks about an animal that is called “el raton,” which means “the mouse.” It’s a fun song for dancing and listening to because it has a catchy rhythm and beat.
2. “Conciencia” by Gilberto Santa Rosa
This song is a classic salsa tune that was composed in the early 1980s. It was released on an album called “Mi Debilidad” and became a hit among fans of the genre. The song describes how the singer’s love is so powerful that it makes him weak. The lyrics were written by Rafael Cortijo and Antonio Cortijo, who were also responsible for writing some of Gilberto Santa Rosa’s other hits such as “La Gran Señora,” “Alma de Candela” and many others.
3. “Pa Bravo Yo” by Justo Betancourt
This song has been covered dozens of times by artists like Gilberto Santa Rosa, but its original version by Justo Betancourt is amazing. It’s got a fast pace and a catchy chorus that makes it one of the most popular salsa songs ever recorded.
4. “Yambeque” by La Sonora Ponceña
This is a salsa classic. It was released in 1956 and has been covered countless times since then. It’s easy to understand why it’s so popular: The song is catchy, upbeat and fun.
The group’s lead singer, Isolina Carrion, was clearly born to sing this particular tune — she has the perfect voice for it. She sings with such joy and energy that she makes you want to get up out of your chair and dance along with her.
5. “Sonido Bestial” by Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz
This salsa classic was released in 1965 by Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz. It quickly became a hit and has been covered by many different artists, including Marc Anthony and Celia Cruz.
6. “Llorarás” by Oscar D’Leon
This song is considered to be one of the best salsa songs ever written. It was released in 1969 and became an instant hit around the world. The song has been covered many times by different artists over the years, but it’s hard to beat Oscar D’Leon’s original version.
7. “Pedro Navaja” by Ruben Blades
In this salsa classic, Ruben Blades plays a character who is obsessed with his beautiful girlfriend. When he learns that she’s cheating on him with another man, he goes on a killing spree and ends up being sent to prison. The song tells the story of how he became such a vengeful person and how his life changed for the worse because of love.
8. “Las Caras Lindas” by Ismael Rivera
The late salsa singer and bandleader Ismael Rivera was one of the most influential artists in Puerto Rico’s history, according to NPR. His song “Las Caras Lindas” (“The Beautiful Faces”) is about beauty standards for women, and it’s one of his best-known tracks.
9. “Mi Gente” by Hector Lavoe
This song was released in 1975 by Puerto Rican singer/songwriter Hector Lavoe as part of his album Combinacion Perfecta II: Salsa Meets Jazz Fusion (1975). It became one of his most popular singles and remains an essential part of any salsa playlist today.
10. “El Menu” by El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico
This song was released in 1979 by a Puerto Rican musical group known as El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico. The song is about making a meal for someone you love because it will make them happy. It also includes an instrumental version of “La Bamba” by Ritchie Valens.
Who is the greatest salsa singer of all time?
Regarded by many as the best Salsa artist in history, Hector Lavoe revolutionized this music genre with his unique, nasal voice and the amazing ability to come up with lyrics able to fit any note.
What is the most popular salsa dance?
he most popular Salsa style that is danced today is LA Style
What was the first salsa song?
The musicologist Max Salazar believes the origin of the connection lies in 1930 when Ignacio Piñeiro composed the song Échale salsita (Put some sauce in it).
What influenced salsa music?
Salsa music is a unique genre of music, created by New York Puerto Ricans in the 1960s, strongly influenced by the Afro-Cuban song, African American jazz, and Puerto Rican musical traditions.