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Rigo y su Obra Maestra / Blog

The History of Salsa Music

Latin music on the island today is most widely represented by salsa, which in English means sauce. The music is of Afro-Caribbean, especially Cuban, origin and the term was probably coined first by Ricardo(Ritchie) Rey and Bobby Cruz. Salsa appears to have arisen in El Barrio of New York City, where immigrants from the island settled. In the late 1960's, Cubans and Puerto Ricans invented the genre by combining rock music with Puerto Rican plena, Cuban son montuno with chachachá,mambo, rumba, cumbia and Latin jazz. The music was highly rhythmic and eminently danceable. Puerto Ricans in this first phase of salsa included Johnny Pacheco, Ricardo(Richie Rey)and Bobby Cruz Papo Lucca, Tommy Olivencia, Héctor Lavoe, Bobby Valentin, Luis "Perico" Ortiz and Tito Curet Alonso. Machito, Tito Rodriguez. Tito Puente. And others. The 1980s saw the rise of the salsa romantica stars like Frankie Ruiz and Eddie Santiago softened salsa's beats and made it smooth and romantic. New York remained salsa's capital for years, but San Juan is also a contender. Tito Puente's is an extremely influential salsa musician, and is often regarded as the best of the field. He studied percussion at the Juilliard School of Music before he going on to form his own band, which first introduced its audiences to the salsa sound and beat. In many respects salsa is a catch word that covers all with a Latin beat and a big band sound. As to instrumentation needs primarily a large battery of percussion instruments, like güiros, maracas, bongos, timbales, conga drums, claves and even a cowbell for the jíbaro sound. Horns Piano and Bass plays a large part in creating the authentic salsa sound.