'Salsa' literally means sauce, a hot and spicy concoction common in the Latin world.
Today the word has come to represent a genre of exciting music and dance emanating from the Spanish speaking Caribbean that developed along with son, danzon, guaracha and others in Cuba under the influence of Afro-Caribbean and European music.
'Salsa' retains all of its heat and spice.
Ignacio Pineiro, a Cuban musician, used the phrase 'Ischale Salsita' as the title of a new piece of music with lyrics.
At the beginning of the Cuban revolution many Cubans fled to the USA, and a number of Cuban musicians ended up in New York. In that musical melting pot they met up with other artists from Puerto Rico, Dominica, Venezuela, Colombia and Panama, and together discovered a rich tapestry of musical styles including jazz, cumbia, tango, samba, plena and guaguanco.
New bands, groups and orchestras were formed which played a new type of music brought about by the melange of cultures. Trombones found a place alongside trumpets, while traditional Caribbean instruments were retained in the rhythm section giving a wild new dimension to the development of Salsa.
In the mid 1960s the Venezuelan radio presenter Danilo Phidias Escalona used the word 'Salsa' in the title of his show.
By the beginning of the 1960s Latin music was somewhat in decline and by the 1970s Fania Records needed to promote artists like Ray Barreto, Willie Colon, Hector Lavoe, Celia Cruz, Ismael Rivera, Johnny Pacheco, El Conde Rodriguez and Bobby Valentine to name but a few.
The new sounds that were created needed a name with which to be identified: 'Salsa'. It became the generic term for a diverse mixture of Latin music and rhythms found in the Spanish speaking Caribbean.
Today the scope of Salsa reaches far beyond the Spanish speaking world.
Puerto Rico,Cuba,Colombia and Venezuela continue to be a major source of Salsa music
By H.Martinez (Julio)