Origin of Salsa


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Salsa means sauce in Spanish and refers to the spiciness in the Caribbean dishes, later it became a common name for dance and music with strong African beats and influences.
In Cuba the popular music has always been dominated by people of African slave descent.
The blacks adapted the European-Spanish tunes to more swinging latin beats. The influence of the Afro Cuban religions, the African Gods and the trance inducing drums and beats can not be denied.
Salsa refers to numerous styles of music, in fact salsa indicates all Cuban music genres and rhythms under one name be it, Mambo, Rumba, Cha-cha, Son, Mozambique....
Cubans have brought twenty five music genres to the world.

Salsa in the Fifties

In the fifties Havana was one of the top cities in the world for cultural and luxury entertainment comparable to Paris and New York. Few places on earth were as exciting as tropical Havana and the nightlife, with the Tropicana, countless casinos,nightclubs and bars.
All these opportunities attracted singers, dancers and musicians. New music styles were invented, the Mambo a new rhythm with influences of the Rock and Roll and the newer Cha-Cha rhythm.

Salsa After the Revolution

After the Revolution (1959) music and dance schools were regarded as symbols of decadence and many singers, musicians and artists left the country.
As the economic situation worsened over the years, Cubans learnt to deal with shortages.
The government realized that dance and music could ease the situation and recognized the music and dance as a social expression.
Songs like "Hasta Siempre Comandante" a tribute to Che Guevara (1963) were sung. In the seventies, Afro-Cuban music groups developed the Timba genre. Music bands like Los Van Van founded by Juan Formell and NG La Banda had an enormous infuence in Cuba. In the eighties, the Disco emerged and later the younger generation enjoyed the new music styles like reaggeaton and Cubaton, the Cuban versions of the Rap music.

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