Salsa Music a popular genre of Latin American music. Since itsemergence in the mid-1960s, salsa has achieved worldwidepopularity, attracting performers and audiences not only in LatinAmerican communities but also in such non-Latin countries as Japanand Sweden. In terms of style and structure, salsa is areinterpretation and modernization of Cuban dance-music styles. It emerged around 1900 as an urban, popular dance-music style inCuba.
It derived some features from Hispanic music, including itsharmonies and the use of the guitar and a similar instrument calledthe tres. To these, it added characteristics of the rumba, a style ofdance music with Afro-Cuban origins. Features derived from therumba include a rhythmic pattern known as clave and a two-partformal structure. This structure consists of a songlike first sectionfollowed by a longer second section featuring call-and-responsevocals and instrumental improvisations over a repeated chordalpattern.Order now
By the 1940s the son had become the most popular dancemusic in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and much of urban Africa; Puerto Ricanswho moved to New York City brought the son with them. The 1950s were a particularly dynamic period for Cuban dancemusic. Cuban and Puerto Rican performers in Havana, Cuba, andNew York City popularized the mambo as a predominantlyinstrumental, big-band style. The mambo, together with themedium-tempo chachach?, enjoyed considerable popularity in theUnited States. Most importantly, the son was modernized byadaptation to horn-based ensembles of 10 to 15 musicians anddistinctive, often jazz-influenced instrumental styles.
By the 1950s, New York City had become host to a large andgrowing Puerto Rican community. A wave of social and politicalactivism, cultural self-assertion, and artistic ferment swept throughthis community in the 1960s. The newly founded Fania Recordssuccessfully promoted several young performers of Cuban-styledance music, and the music?now repackaged as salsa?becamelinked to the sociopolitical effervescence of the era. Bandleaderssuch as Willie Colon, Rub?n Blades, Johnny Pacheco, Ray Barretto,and Eddie Palmieri led the musical movement, in which salsabecame a self-conscious vehicle for Latino pride, unity, andmobilization throughout the Hispanic Caribbean Basin countries andamong Latino communities in the eastern United States. Mostimportantly, however, salsa, with its intricate and driving rhythms,its brilliant horn arrangements, and its searing vocals, served as anexuberant and exhilarating dance music.
By the mid-1970s, salsa had become the dominant popular musicidiom in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, with Venezuela andColombia emerging as music centers to rival New York City. Butduring the 1980s, salsa’s themes of Latin unity and sociopoliticalidealism diminished. In addition, the genre faced new competition,especially in New York City and Puerto Rico, from the merengue, adance-music style from the Dominican Republic. Nevertheless, salsahas remained popular among younger generations of Latinos, whotend to favor a smoother, more sentimental style known as salsarom?ntica, popularized by such bandleaders as Eddie Santiago andTito Nieves. Notable salsa singers of the 1990s included LindaIndia Caballero and Mark Anthony.