Mainstream pop songs that can be used for salsa?

Discussion in 'Salsa Music' started by Tom G, Sep 25, 2013.

  1. Tom G

    Tom G Changui

    I'm running a salsa workshop for absolute beginners and would love a list of popular main-stream songs (that non-salsa people will know) that aren't too fast, and have a very clear (8-count) beat.

    Some I've found that work very well, are listed below.

    Anybody have any other suggestions?

    - Michael jackson - they don't care about us
    - Mary J Blige - family affair
    - Elvis vs JXL - a little less conversation
  2. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

  3. premier

    premier Shine Officer

    Sh!t storm in 3....2....1.....go!
  4. Chris F

    Chris F Tumbao

    Please don't play pop music. You are educating them and the basics of musicality are critical.

    To give an example of what happens if you ignore it consider what I observe at the ballroom studio where I also take lessons. They are so used to dancing cha cha to boom boom boom pop music that the majority can not properly keep tempo with an actual latin cha cha/guajira/son montuno.
  5. Salsa Student

    Salsa Student Pattern Police

    If you feel you absolutely must play music that first time salsa dancers would recognize, I would suggest at least using salsa covers. There are covers of Let It Be and I Want You Back that are pretty good, you'd probably have to slow the second one down though.
  6. matty

    matty Shine Officer

    I believe it can be quite a mistake to underestimate your public and "dumb things down" too much.
    there is always that quiet person who has been around and actually knows more than you think. and my view is that is the person you should be aiming to please, while keeping it fun and accesible for everyone

    I dont think its safe to second guess that people would go to a salsa class and NOT expect to, or want to hear Tropical Latin music, even if they may not know the music very well yet.
    and they are not going to get to know this music any better if you dont play it, are they? :)
    dj_guachi_guaro and premier like this.
  7. tallpaul

    tallpaul Pattern Police

    Yeah, if you have people who are interested in coming to a salsa class, then you may as well give them some good salsa songs - songs with a clear enough rhythm obviously.

    (Rather than creating a new type of "salsa experience" for people who don't like salsa music...)
  8. Tom G

    Tom G Changui

    Hi, thanks for all the replies.

    I totally agree - salsa music is an important part of the salsa experience - and we have a big playlist of latin music which we use every week (and will continue to use). :)

    We have however been trying to throw in the odd pop song, just to show that you can use salsa not just at salsa parties. This has gone down very well, hence why I was hoping for some more example, to use *occasionally*.

    There are plenty of "salsa playlists" online, but I couldn't find any lists that included some mainstream pop songs, so I was just hoping to get a few examples?

    Thanks in advance.
    Juanan likes this.
  9. nowhiteshoes

    nowhiteshoes Pattern Police

    Here's a couple:

    Ciaran Hegarty likes this.
  10. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    I can't think of a polite response to this.
    Ciaran Hegarty and nowhiteshoes like this.
  11. tallpaul

    tallpaul Pattern Police

    Well, if you feel that the Michael Jackson, Mary J Blige and Elvis tracks suit salsa dancing, then I'd assume that any pop tune with BPM of between 85 and 100 bpm should fit your bill fine. (Incidentally, the Elvis track is way too fast for beginners to dance Salsa moves to: bpm=112. Most moves you show them in class will fail to work when you put on that song).

    Personally, I think that most Salsa moves danced to pop music looks really silly, and encourages bad timing in Salsa beginners (i.e. they get lost when they can't hear the regular pop backbeat on beats 1-3-5-7). So my only honest recommendations would be to
    • stick to music that uses latin rhythms (rather than a rock-pop backbeat)
    • teach West Coast Swing or Ceroc/Modern Jive instead - which by all accounts fits pop music nicely
    Sorry - you're not going to find many people round here with a bunch of favourite pop tracks they like to dance salsa to...
  12. Fabiano

    Fabiano Son Montuno

    This is quite ok for a Pop-Salsa song, but I personally wouldn´t play it at a party
  13. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' RodrĂ­guez

    Not meaning to be rude but oddly enough you will find salsa on salsa playlists. If you want pop, look for pop playlists. Salseros, as you have noticed by now, really don't like to dance salsa to things that are not salsa.

    And I have to agree with some others that it can possibly do harm to the beginner's ability to learn to listen to and understand salsa music. Many people have a hard time with it anyway, and confusing them with pop music isn't going to help them when they hear a salsa track.
  14. TSC

    TSC Tumbao

    Yes, salsa class should use salsa music.

    That said, I feel like there's something being overlooked in Tom G's post -- he said he's trying to show the skills learned in salsa class can be used outside of the salsa party environment. I think that's a good and valuable point. I've certainly found my salsa skills have been useful at regular dance parties where no one knows salsa.

    Still, I would never try to dance straight-up salsa in such a situation, nor do I think it's a good idea to teach students salsa to pop songs. What I would suggest instead, as an occasional experiment, is putting on a pop song and showing how body motion, footwork elements, leading elements borrowed from salsa can be used when dancing with a non-dancer. Forget doing the 123 567 in such a situation -- I'm talking the good old step and tap, or the step-step-step-step of merengue and other easy moves adaptable to non-dancers. And then have the students experiment and play around with how they can express pop music using their new vocabulary of movement.

    I think this kind of guided exploration can be a nice added value to salsa classes; students will certainly feel better about themselves and their classes if they can go to a club or other party and show their friends or dates they can dance. That said, this should be a minor component of class at most -- and, again, without trying to shoehorn actual 123 567 salsa to pop music!

    In other words, do it, but please don't call it salsa. . .
    LarsM likes this.
  15. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    This makes a good cha cha:

  16. Ciaran Hegarty

    Ciaran Hegarty Descarga

    Oh my sweet giddy God, this thread is hilarious. I'm reading it with the Benny Hill theme playing in the background, I highly recommend it.
  17. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    Just out of interest, do you prefer to dance on1 or 2 to it?
  18. Ciaran Hegarty

    Ciaran Hegarty Descarga

  19. Tom G

    Tom G Changui

    We've been doing it on 1.

    Thanks again for all the replies. I can tell that there's a lot of strong feelings that salsa and mainstream music really shouldn't mix. Point very much taken. :)

    If nothing else, it has led to a very amusing thread.
    tallpaul likes this.
  20. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Me neither !.. Im always dumbfounded by " teachers(?) who make musical choices" out " of the genre. It serves NO purpose, and if you think it does, then you are in the wrong teaching area of dance.
    All you achieve, is perpetuating the illusion that, anything works !..

    ya know what they say.. " no Clave .. NO latin "

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