Salsa from Cuba

Discussion in 'Salsa Music' started by timberamayor, Apr 3, 2015.

  1. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    As I come across Cuban songs that I think would work sa "regular salsa" I will post them here.
    They do make salsa once in a while
    First up Cubriendo ausencias by Nelson Valdés feat Leoni Torres and José Luis Cortés "El Tosco". Official video just uploaded yesterday. Nelson is more a trova artists and did a version of this song a year ago, but has now done a version with Leoni Torres (ex-charanguero). This song should work just fine among regular saleros. Not even a drum kit. there is a flute solo by El Tosco. Maybe some people would find it disturbing.
  2. groovetpt

    groovetpt Capitán Del Estilo

    ^ I'm thinking fans of Nino Segarra ( Puerto Rico ) would dig this. The arranging, chord progessions, instrumentation ( esp with the flute, bari sax and acoustic guitar in there ) and romantica sensibility is along the lines of Segarra.
    timberamayor likes this.
  3. groovetpt

    groovetpt Capitán Del Estilo

    Nice idea for a thread, btw...
    calichris10 and timberamayor like this.
  4. BullitproofSoul

    BullitproofSoul Shine Officer

    This song is lovely. Delicate, sophisticated arrangement. Nice voices.

    Bad ass flute solo. So bad ass, that the flautist didn't even make it to the session. he simply played his solo in the backseat of a cab, on the way to, well, wherever the hell he felt like going that day.
    groovetpt and timberamayor like this.
  5. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    El Tosco is indeed a bad ass himself. I don't know if you know so I'll tell you :) He was with group such as Los Van Van and Irakere before he started his won group NG La Banda. And for the sake of simplicity NG La Banda is the band credited as being the first real timba band. He is quite a character and a great flautist. Here he is doing something you wouldn't expect at an NG concert.
  6. SONido

    SONido Son Montuno

    I am assuming you are well-intentioned and are trying to be conciliatory and promote Cuban music to a Salsa audience that claims to dislike Timba. But this is the wrong approach in my opinion. The title in this thread makes no sense: these are Cubans playing their take on Son Cubano as they've always done. Calling this Salsa is misleading and unnecessary.

    On the contrary, it's about time Salseros realize and embrace the simple reality that they are dancing to Cuban Music, whether played by Cubans, Puerto Ricans, NYRicans, Dominicans, or Eskimos.

    Funny thing is that plenty of contemporary Timba and Songo such as Van Van (as well as more traditional Cuban Son from La Original de Manzanillo) are played at the big NYC socials to the On2 "connoisseur" crowd and they don't even realize it. They just keep on dancing like they do to a 1950's Mambo from Puente or 1970's Son Montuno from Feliciano.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2015
  7. khabibul35

    khabibul35 Tumbao

    Man... not being able to post links is killing me! But anyway, one that I think works both ways is "Si me tenias - Michel Robles". It has doesn't have too many unusual breaks and is in a pretty romantica style so it's quite doable for line dancers but it still has a Cuban sound to it, follows a Cuban layout of building up to the Montuno (kind of similar to Havana D'Primera) and the last third is very layered instrumentally. At the 4:00 minute mark, they say "sacudete" and you can definitely shake it from that point on.

    It's not a well known song so I'm wondering what the Casineros, LA style and NY Style folks will all think of it.
  8. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    One can go on and on about what the music should be called. We can say neither salsa nor timba exist. Everything is son and guaracha. We can certainly say it's all Cuban music if we want to, but it would be inaccurate to say that there is not an audible difference in how contemporary popular dance music sounds in Cuba vs PR vs NY vs Colombia and in Alaska (to not forget the Inuit peoples). I'm not trying to be "conciliatory" so much as informative. There are, as you know, many salseros who don't like contemporary Cuban popular dance music because they think it is too noisy, too cluttered, too messy, or just don't like the drum kit and so on. Lots of new salseros hear how timba sucks from day one, at least that has been my experience. But I see that differs from scene to scene. You mention On2 clubs in NY playing Cuban music and that's fantastic. But I think in many places no one plays or mentions Cuban music and it's exclusively NY, PR and Colombian that is played.

    When I came across this song it seemed to me to be something that was an example of Cuban music that would not "offend" the ears of regular salseros. I'm pretty sure people who have a negative opinion of contemporary Cuban popular dance music (including DJs who don't like it) are not out there combing the Internet for songs by Cubans that they might actually like. Hence the thread. Make it easy for people who are uncomfortable with timba, songo, etc to find songs they might not otherwise have ever been aware of.

    I am happy to hear that there are places where DJs are playing some contemporary Cuban popular dance music. I believe that many dancers would have no problem dancing to a lot of the Cuban bands, both the more traditional as well as newer bands such as Havana D'Primera, Maykel Blanco and El Niño y La Verdad. I was lucky that all types of "salsa" were played in Stockholm when I started dancing, so no one differentiated between timba versus salsa or son. I would like to help open up people's ears to music they might otherwise have missed, either because they don't pay attention to Cuban music or it is not popular or maybe not readily available in their area. I would especially like DJs and dance instructors to notice.
    khabibul35 likes this.
  9. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    Let's find out. I would say it's timba not salsa and it has a typical salsa romantica type of cuerpo (as does a lot of timba) followed by timba when it gets to the monutno. What do LA style and NY dancers think of it?
    Directamente desde Lima - El Capital de la Timba!
    khabibul35 likes this.
  10. SONido

    SONido Son Montuno

    There's no relativism to this answer, nor is the argument circular. It's rather plain and simple: Timba is a term coined to identify Son-based Cuban music in the 1990's (and in part as a counter to the term Salsa). There's certainly musical innovations that set Timba apart from other Cuban music, but every decade Son based music innovates on what came before, and it will continue to do so.

    On the other hand, Salsa is simply a commercial umbrella for Cuban music -this is well established by anyone that has even the most superficial knowledge of the music and is willing to do a 15 mins research on Youtube. Of course, as it happens in every musical genre, each decade will bring some innovation and the sound will differ to some degree to what came before. Sonora Ponceña and El Gran Combo - same time period and country - sound unmistakably different...does this make them two different musical genres?

    Ultimately, Timba and just about everything that falls under the "Salsa" umbrella should be classified as Son since their DNA is the Son Clave. When you identify a brand new clave pattern used in a Salsa song, let me know, and then we can classify that song as truly a new genre (and let's not try to sneak in a Rumba clave, since this would still constitute Cuban music)

    I agree, and your intentions are noble. But calling Cuban music Salsa to appeal to these "salseros" disrespects Cuban culture, and validates this worthless term which is about time it's taken down. The rise of "Salsa" was made possible by the embargo. Cuban musicians were silenced to the world, and Fania was able to pillage not just all the Cuban rhythms, but literally many of the actual songs and pass them as their own which are most of their greatest hits. Of course, no royalties ever paid. Heck, never mind the money, give cultural credit instead of claiming that "Salsa" came from Africa to New York...Why validate this?

    Now that the Embargo is finally crumbling and the conditions that made such blatant scam possible are no longer sustainable, challenging the ill-established term Salsa will only become more common place. As someone in close contact with Cuban musicians you know they never took kindly to the concept of Salsa - from those living in Cuba such as Juan Formell, to those residing in the States such as Monguito. Not to mention many high profile NYRicans and PRicans have openly discredited the term, including Puente, Palmieri, Miranda, etc.

    If Cuban music offends the ears of any "Salsero," that's their problem and their loss. No need to redefine Cuban music or tailored it to meet their taste. You'll never convince them anyways, and will just water down and adulterate that which you are trying to promote.

    This is the irony. I think the consensus is that NY "salseros" are the elite of "Salsa" - they certainly are vocal about it. Yet they dance to PLENTY of Timba and Son from Cuba and don't even realize it. At LVG, DJ La Conga plays at least a dozen Timba songs every time, and a load of Son Montunos from Cuba. Frankie in his Abakua plays about around a third of Cuban music, mostly pre-60's. DJ Alex in Salsamania plays several Timba songs every time, along with many old school Cuban music from Cachao, Sonora Matancera, Conjunto Casino, etc.

    And in conclusion to answer your question, this particular song you shared would fail miserably at a NYC social. It is no better than the saccharine and shallow garbage from Lalo Rodriguez, Maelo Ruiz, and the like. NYorkers will have a blast with Van Van's "La Bomba Soy Yo" not realizing it's Timba. This is because regardless of whether their superiority complex has merit or not, NY dancers do favor quality.
    MAMBO_CEC likes this.
  11. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    The clave rhythm came from Africa, so therefore it's all African music.
  12. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    I don't have time to go through all the inaccuracies in your post, but the above in particular is wrong - Cuban music in and before the 70s was not some sort of equivalent to salsa dura and/or romántica, which only failed to find success then and now due to the embargo. That sound was not made in Cuba, beyond the same half dozen recordings that came close and always get cited in these arguments.

    Also for the record: a large number of salsa hits are remakes of old Cuban tunes it is true, but not the majority.

    Here we are in agreement! Salsa came from Africa via Cuba to NY. (Hopefully anyone who is interested in the history of this music should know that.)
  13. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    One more thing: due to the salsa scene going from a music-based to dance class-based scene, casino instructors have been able to make a living from and promote timba. The only way they have been able to achieve this is through using - some would say misusing - the term salsa. If these same people had marketed themselves as promoters of casino and timba I realy can't imagine they would have had much success. Even now salsa is the term they rely on to stay in business.
    khabibul35 and terence like this.
  14. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    I guess I've never heard anyone claim salsa was from Africa to NY. I've never met anyone who denied the Cuban connection although they may not bring it up unless directly asked about it.

    I don't think it's a question of validating. It's a question of talking to people in terminology that they can relate to. As one NY musician pointed out in an interview (can't remember who it was right now and I paraphrase) "When I meet someone and tell them I'm a musician and they ask what kind of music I play, if I say "guaracha" they won't have any idea what that is, so I say "salsa" because pretty much everyone has an idea of what "salsa" means." Of course we know that a lot of people think Ricky Martin is salsa, so just because they have an idea doesn't mean it's accurate.

    Like it or not, the term salsa has international recognition while son does not. So in order to speak to people in a way where they are likely to understand my meaning - in this case Cuban music that won't sound "weird" to them - the word salsa is more useful. If you say "son" they may think BVSC, assuming they even know what son is. Here at Salsa Forums I expect most people to know what son is, whereas in other contexts people probably have no clue.

    One could argue that we should insist on saying son and thus little by little cure people of their ignorance. But in the end most people's interest is superficial and they aren't interested in delving more deeply into the music. If you manage to catch their attention it will be for a minute or two at most, and hostile or aggressive attitudes are more likely to turn people off than to make them think "Wow, I have just been insulted! I must be wrong and should change my way of thinking".

    On another note, I think it's interesting to see that some of the younger musicians are making use of the term son again. El Niño has almost all of the songs on his album listed as son except for a mozambique, bolero and the song with El Yonki that he defines as "timba". In fact it seems that among the younger generation the term timba is morphing to mean what I would consider to be timbatón.

    I guess we'll see if it gets challenged more, or if Cuban music simply gets absorbed into the term. I don't expect to see Sony marketing Elito's new CD as Changüí or son. But it will be interesting if they do.
  15. Smejmoon

    Smejmoon El Sabroso de Conguero

    I'll say it's timba romantica.. It has never been a secret that Cubans adore cheezy salsa. And that best timba comes from Peru and Sweden. :D
  16. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

  17. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    Nice.. I would use that for teaching..
    timberamayor likes this.
  18. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    here's some empirical evidence on that ; I got into an argument on the sister channel specifically about " music ", and criticised the "pop" songs used for the latin genre... good job it wasn't in person, they would have chased me down !!. :rolleyes:

    TV dance programs, are also big culprits in misleading the general public on the subject of latin music.. its a pandemic situation.

    I kinda look back in the day, when all was just mambo.. no appendages of any kind or sort..
    timberamayor likes this.
  19. SONido

    SONido Son Montuno

    The irony (only 4 posts above yours):

    @DJ Yuca I think this statement encapsulates your expertise on the subject from what I've read from you so far - and sums up your online persona quite well.

    Once again you rudely pass judgement and come to conclusions before actually pointing my alleged inaccuracies...Courtesy and logic dictate you should first pinpoint the issues and then present your conclusion.

    This is the second time you do this, you lack manners friend.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2015
  20. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'Guaguanco' Rodríguez

    He's doing that to be argumentative. He's taking your argument and moving back one step with it that's all. Just as one can say all salsa is Cuban music we can say it's all African music. The thing is that the question of naming and "who owns salsa (or shall I say son?)" comes up at least a few times a year at SF and after a while people get tired of the same arguments over and over again. I'm quite sure that Yuca is familiar with the role of son and Cuban music/musicians in the development of salsa. Saying that salsa was a direct Africa/NY connection bypassing the Cuban contribution is just silly and he knows that (I'm sure Yuca will correct me if he thinks I am misunderstanding him). But I expect he thinks it's equally silly to deny that the music in the US and PR developed along it's own similar yet different trajectory with the rise of the embargo, creating a unique sound - still based on son/guaracha/mambo but with NY and PR characteristics. The name salsa was just something that came a long later, and as you've already mentioned - many US musicians never liked it either. But it is a reality, like it or not.

    I'm sure you've seen the interview with Elio Revé where he says essentially "salsa is just a name they've put on our son." And yet one of his big hits is "Mi salsa tiene sandunga". He was being pragmatic. An interesting development here is with Elito's new CD - if it ever gets released - named "La salsa tiene mi son" - an obvious play on the title of the above song and also a move to point out the role of Cuban music in salsa. I assume you have long since heard all the new versions of the old hits including with GSR and El Canario. Good stuff.

    I totally understand where you're coming from and I hope the eventual ending of the embargo (we're not here yet) will increase people's awareness of Cuban music, which has a great number of genres. I don't think it moves the music forward or helps connect new dancers/listeners to the music to argue about what to call it. I no longer have time for that. Better to gently insert educational information like Elito has done in his CD title. What I am interested in is finding a way to open up new (or old) listeners/dancers to what is coming out of Cuba today. Names change, the essence is the same and I would rather that people in the US start consuming more Cuban music whether they call it salsa, son, timba or some name as yet to come.

    I could name the thread "Contemporaray Son from Cuba" but IMO that is still too broad. Manolito, El Niño, HdP and many others easily qualify under this rubric, but they do not play the sound I am thinking of. When I say "salsa" it implies certain characteristics and people understand what I am trying to say. It is the most effective term to use to communicate with greatest precision what I am trying to say to reach the objective of this thread, which is the spread of Cuban music.

    My own story is that I have no Latin music background. I'm a WASP with a rock and pop and classical music background. My idea of Latin music was La cucaracha and I had no interest whatsoever in learning Spanish or listening to what I thought Latin music was. Then I made some friends from Mexico and Colombia and discovered how much fun dancing was, even though I didn't know how and I'm sure I looked like a fool. But still the music was "foreign", and what I first liked was Marc Anthony, Victor Manuelle. GSR etc. Salsa Romantica had a pop aesthetic that I could relate to, whereas NY salsa dura was not to my taste. Eventually I started hearing more Cuban music and realized that it sounded different - better to my ear, more exciting (perhaps appealing to my rock music side). And since then I have learned Spanish and listen almost exclusively to Cuban music plus Andrés Suárez from Galicia :)

    So why my long story? Because it illustrates that if one finds a type of music one can relate to, it opens doors to more. I think many dancers never learn to like the music as other than a tool for performing dance moves, because they never find a music style that really appeals to them. So here is my hope: someone who is a new salsero or someone who thinks all Cuban music sounds like the modern CH sees a thread about "Cuban salsa" and listens and decides "Hey, this works for me". Perhaps they will be open to exploring more of the works of these particular artists and may slowly move into opening up to more modern Cuban music. that's what I want to do, find songs that can work as gateways to promote contemporary Cuban popular dance music dancer (DJ/dance instructor) at a time.

    I know there must be some thread somewhere at SF where people were arguing about the validity of the term Cuban salsa and whether there is anything that can be called "Cuban salsa".

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