Salsa Music
Salsa Musicians- Image Courtesy of Dr. Hollabaugh Page


Izzy Sanábria's claim to fame is his ingenuity to coin the word Salsa to describe a "danceable Latin music (5)." However40 years before Izzy Sanábria, Igancio Piñerio a Cuban composer recorded Èchale Salsita as a "protest against tasteless food (5)." In 1962, Joe Cuba recorded Salsa y Bembé, a song which encouraged a dancer to add spice or salsa to her dancing. A year later, Charlie Palmieri recorded Salsa Na Ma which means "salsa only." A Mexican group, Cal Tjader Quintet named their 1964 album Salsa del Alma (Soul Sauce).

Meanwhile on the east coast in New York, salsa was called azucar, a term still used in salsa music meaning "sugar." Izzy Sanábria popularized the term by repeatedly using it in Latin New York magazine.

Today salsa music is characterized by the clave. "The clave is a rhythm played by hitting one stick against another (6)." The salsa rhythm is played with four beats to each bar. There are two bar phrases. These phrases are played on a conga. The tempo of the music also determines its style. Songs with a fast tempo are considered salsa while a slower tempo could be considered chachachá (6).

Listen to Èchale Salsita on
History of Salsa Music
African Rhythms
History of Salsa Dancing
French Connection
Cuban Son