If you see it as more pop, then sure. Timba mixes in a lot of funk and sometimes pop, rock, hiphop. Groups have their own sound so Los Van Van for example is really heavily songo (since they invented it) whereas some songs for example by El Noro are much more pop. There is "classic timba" like NG La Banda versus modern timba such as Maykel Blanco or Havana D'Primera. One classic band La Charanga Habanera has gone from being an innovator in timba in the 90s to being essentially a timbaton boy band now. They used to be my favorite.
the thing that originally attracted me to timba was the piano in Marcando la Distancia by Manolito y su Trabuco.
But here is a list if you are interested in listening to various different timba groups (you should be able to hear the difference in styles) - There is also a "classic timba" thread if you are interested in comparing the newer songs with the "old " stuff from the 80s and 90s.
NG La Banda (officially credited as being the first full-fledged timba band back in 1989)
Pupy y Los Que Son Son
Orquesta Revé (has been under Elio Revé and now Elito Revé since the death of his father)
Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor
Issac Delgado (some of his stuff is more regular salsa , some more timba
Manolín "El Médico de la salsa"
Bamboleo - has had great female leads
Azúcar Negra had female leads in the past but in about 2012 went to an all male singer format.
Yes I guess I'm now relegating CH as "classic timba" since a search that yields current videos is nothing like the Charanga we knew and loved. Manolito was great and then hit a bit of a shaky period IMO but seems to be getting back on track again. It's like some bands try to do some sort of fusions to attract the young fans of urban music and mostly just end up losing their way IMO.
Yeah Klimax is much more jazzy so nopt easy for as many people to get into. A couple of my favorite old songs are "Lo que me falto por hacerte" and "Catarro chino". I think their newer stuff is not as inaccessible as their classics I will post those video in Class timba.
In the words of Jose Luis Cortes, arguably the guy who started Timba, it's a term that was given in the 1990s to modern popular Cuban dance music. As Cuba was deep in the embargo during that time, there was a very limited interaction with the New York and Puerto Rico scenes, and surprisingly also with the Colombian and Venezuelan scenes of salsa. This led to some unique developments, such as the Conjunto/Charanga blended mega bands (Los Van Van/Trabuco/Charangon/Charanga Latina), heavy funk & old style R&B influenced bands (Bamboleo/NG La Banda), and pop/hip-hop/reggaeton influenced bands (Charanga Habanera, which started out as a Conjunto/Charanga blend).
With increased globalization and interaction due to the internet, even with the renewed embargo led by George W Bush, Timba became available in the states, by 2004 (at least to my knowledge, possibly earlier) most major bands' music was available in Amazon and other online outlets. However due to limited touring and virtually zero play in US radio due to the embargo, its market has been limited. The globalization also affected Cubans, who increasingly also use the term Salsa. In the most ironic of developments the band "Maykel Blanco y su Salsa Mayor" did a song a few years ago about how the music was Son (one has to wonder why they didn't call themselves Son Mayor).
The name Maykel wanted to use for his band was La Suprema Ley, which is why he actually has some of his old songs recorded under that name. But as I'm sure you know, Cuban bands have to have a license from the government and belong to an artist agency. They weren't giving out new licenses at the time he wanted to start a band. Javier Sotomayor had a band called Salsa Mayor - for obvious reasons - and he and Maykel are friends so Maykel ended up taking over the planilla for Salsa Mayor, hence the name of the band I think Maykel hired all new musicians. By taking over Sotomayor's band he got past the problem of not being able to get a license. So really the reason was expediency.
Actually, I just remembered the interview I did with him in Copenhagen in 2013 with English subtitles - mixed in with bits from the concert. The link starts from the part where he's talking about the name of the band. If you watch the whole video you can see he really put a lot of thought into plans for the band, and at this time he was already developing his idea to start the Festival de la salsa en Cuba, which has been a great success. I'm REALLY hoping to go next year.