Bongo Player- Image Courtesy of JambalayaSalsa Dancers- Image Courtesy of Jambalaya

Salsa, salsa
ritmo que da vida
que todos escuchan
que el mundo quiere bailar,
Salsa

Yuri Buenaventura

The rhythmic revolution of salsa existed long before there was even a name for the art form which swayed hips and moved not only feet but souls. The roots of salsa reach into France under the reign of Louis XIV and into the bowels of Africa and finally developing in the sweltering heat of Cuba.

Before there was salsa, there was a conglomeration of Latin rhythms which to the untrained ear could be considered homogeneous. Izzy Sanábria, a graphic designer at Fania Records in the 1960s, decided to "capture the imagination and make the marketing simpler" (1) by combining these elements under one name. The name he chose was Salsa because it described the spice and kick of the music.

Merriam-Webster defines salsa as "popular music of Latin American origin that has absorbed characteristics of rhythm and blues, jazz, and rock (2)." Salsa literally means "sauce" or "saucy" but it could be used as a term to pump up the energy of a performance, equivalent to jazz phrases "smokin" or "jammin" (1). To Latin people, Salsa is more than a dance or a type of music but the epitome of their culture. Take a journey into France, Africa, the island of Hispanola, Cuba and finally the world to discover the history of salsa music and dancing.

History of Salsa
African Rhythms
Cuba
History of Salsa Dancing
French Connection
Danzon
Cuban Son
Sources