The musical genre known as
has its roots in Cuban music and especially in the
Musically speaking Salsa is a group of Latin rhythmic styles that contain the Clave beat; the five
note syncopated rhythmic cell of African origin. The clave beat is infectious, it make the
listener "have-to-move". Although there are many African Clave patterns the most popular in
what is called Salsa today is the Son Clave.
Salsa music is a synthesis of European and African musical influences that was born in Cuba.
The European part being mainly the melodies and harmony of the Andalucia region of Spain
(the homeland of the Conquistadors), while the African part in Salsa is mainly from the
western coast of Africa where the slave trade was most prevalent.
The first well known recorded use of the word Salsa was in 1937 in the Cuban composer
Ignacio Piñeras’ classic Son "Echale Salsaita", which means "spice it up a little", soon
became a popular success. (To hear "Echale Salsaita" in
MP3 Click Here.). Oddly enough it was not
referring to music but to the American food that its author was served while on a musical tour
in the USA.
The word Salsa as such was used in a recording of the Mambo legend Tito Rodriguez titled
"Sabroso Mambo", recorded in New York City on June 28, 1956, He called the Mambo: "Nunca te olvidaras
el Mambo porque tiene la Salsa sabroza" ("You will never forget the Mambo because it has the savory Salsa"; loose translation by the author).
Remember by this date the Mambo craze was in decadence.
Arcaño y Su Maravillas,
a Cuban dance orchestra of which the famous brothers, and creators of the Mambo rhythmic pattern,
Orestes and Israel Lopez "cachao" played piano and cello respectively recorded some early Mambos
which at the time was referred to as "ritmo nuevo" (new rhythm). I am going through my
Cuban music recordings now to find some tracks. I will include it in the music
tracks section of www.justsalsa.com soon after I find them and will update this page to reflect.
Modern Salsa is directly related to the Mambo in both its music and dance forms especially
New York Salsa dance.
To read on the History of Salsa Click Here