The History of Salsa

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Abstract In today’s generation we tend to listen and dance to music we enjoy, but how many of us know the history of it? Where this particular genre of music that we enjoy originated? Who made it popular? As a Hispanic female growing up in a Hispanic home Salsa music has been a part of my life from birth. I can truly say that I am guilty of not knowing the historical background of it even thou it has been a part of me from birth. This paper will cover the history of Salsa music as well as the queen of salsa Ms. Celia Cruz. Many people will disagree where Salsa music originated but most can agree that the birthplace was Cuba. As stated in just salsa.com, “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.” ("Justsalsa.com," n.d, p. 1) It is said that “Between 1930 and 1960 there were musicians from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico and South America coming to New York to perform. They brought their own native rhythms and musical forms with them, but as they listened to each other and played music together, the musical influences mixed, fused and evolved.” (latinmusic.about.com, Lilich, n.d, p. 1) “This type of musical hybridization gave birth to the 1950s creation of the mambo from son, conjunto and jazz traditions. Continuing musical fusion went on to include what we know today as the cha cha cha, rhumba, conga and, in the 1960s, salsa.” (latinmusic.about.com, Lilich, n.d, p. 1) The type of instruments used in salsa music is what makes salsa music so unique. Salsa music has a heavy use of percussion (clave, maracas, conga, bongo, tambora, bato, cowbell.) Other salsa instruments include

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