Entertainment

A-Z-U-C-A-R! Here’s A Quick History Lesson About Salsa And Its Growth Around The World

If you want to dance to impress (and have a great time overall) at any party you’re at, salsa dancing is the way to go. We’re breaking down the history of this revered form of music and dancing, from its Cuban roots to its greatest performers, including la reina herself—Celia Cruz—and how cities from New York to Miami are still keeping the dance form alive.

Salsa is more than just a music genre, it is a dance style that is unique to its origin.

Salsa’s roots started out on the eastern side of Cuba, taking its musical cue from Son cubano and mambo. As well, the drum rhythms and dance moves from Afro-Cuban dance and music shaped the musical style. Not to be forgotten are elements of Spanish flamenco guitar which was brought to Cuba by troubadours and were incorporated into the son style.

During the 1950s, a style of salsa called rueda de casino emerged around Cuba.

Other names for the style are rueda or casino rueda. Dancers move about in pairs or solo, and dance movements are called out with phrases such as “dame una” (give me one) or “exhibela” (show her off.) The dance was made at members-only clubs on the island, called casino deportivos.  

The musical style of salsa started to make its way from Cuba to the U.S. around the same decade rueda de casino was developed.

????????Rueda de casino o rueda cubana es un círculo de parejas que bailan salsa cubana y donde las mujeres van cambiando de pareja. Todos bailan con todos. Hay un cantante que nombra las figuras y todos los miembros las hacen al mismo tiempo. Mínimo son necesarias dos parejas y el máximo no tiene límite. Al ser un círculo, desde arriba parece un periscopio, no os parece? Esto es parte de la coreo Agua pa Yemayá que hicimos con nuestro grupo Aché???????? ???????? Rueda de casino oder Rueda cubana ist ein Kreis von Paaren, die kubanische Salsa tanzen und wo die Frauen die Männer wechsel. Alle tanzen mit allen. Es gibt einen "Cantante" oder Sänger, der die Figuren singt und alle machen diese Figuren gleichzeit. Man braucht mindestens 2 Paare und der Maximum ist unbegrenz. Es ist ein Kreis und deswegen sieht von oben wie ein Periskop, glaubt ihr nicht? Das ist ein Teil von der Coreo Agua pa Yemayá die wir mit unserer Gruppe Aché gemcaht haben.???????? ➡️➡️Follow us in Facebook: Ricard & Laia Salsa ???????? #aguapayemayá #ruedadecasino #ruedacubana #definiciónruedacubana #dame #rueda #salsa #salsacubana #coreo #desdearriba #salsabayern #salsawürzburg #salsainwürzburg #wasistruedadecasino #ricardylaia #tanzen #würzburgdieneuesalsahauptstadt #würzburg mit @anna.kordumanova @martinakouratoraki

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Cuban and Puerto Rican musicians started to settle in New York City and salsa music continued to adapt, along with more and more bands forming. Elements of salsa music also began to appear in the music of more mainstream American artists as well.

As salsa began garnering more attention as a musical style, Celia Cruz became synonymous with the genre.

Dubbed the Queen of Salsa, Cruz released over 60 salsa albums during her almost 50-year career.

Cruz’s infectious personality and strong vocals endeared her to fans in the U.S. and all around the world.

And a lot of her salsa hits are still played in salsa clubs around the world.

Cruz’s lucky break came in Cuba when the lead singer of the Sonora Matancera left the group.

She made a name with Sonora, even meeting her husband, Pedro Knight, who was a trumpet player with the group. She appeared in films, recorded music and performed across Latin America with the band, but was forbidden to return to Cuba once Fidel Castro took control. Cruz became a U.S. citizen in 1961 and worked with record labels in the U.S. to start making her mark, and in the 1970s, her fame started taking off after “Quimbará” appeared on the Celia y Johnny album in 1974.

Cruz’s career spanned decades, with hits including “Cucula”, “La Negra Tiene Tumbao” and the classic that is played everywhere from bodas to quinceañeras, “La Vida Es Un Carnaval.”

As for the actual style of salsa dancing, that too started to ride a wave of popularity. Besides the Cuban style of salsa, there is the Afro-Latino style (popular in Caribbean countries), Cali-style of salsa danced in Colombia, LA style, and New York style. The Afro-Latino style has some African instruments accompanying shimmies, leg work, body isolations acrobatics and lifts.

Cali-style is fast, like rapido fast. The footwork includes quick steps and skipped motions.

Cali-style salsa began in the 1930s when musicians started experimenting with American styles of music like jazz, mambo, konga, guaguanco.

LA style is danced in a line and the forward-backward step is a #majorkey for this dance.

It is clearly a very different take on the global phenomenon of salsa.

New York style is danced in a “flat figure 8” and is danced on the second beat. Also, if you are trying to keep up by being the “follower,” know that in New York style, the follower is the one that takes the first step.

If you want to go out and try dance moves for yourself, hit up La Descarga in Los Angeles, Ball & Chain in Miami and Guantanamera or Club Cache in NYC.


READ: This Isn’t Your Mama’s Cumbia: The Eclectic History Of Latin America’s Classic Music Genre

Do you like dancing salsa? What’s your favorite song to dance to? Let us know in the comments and share this post with your friends if you learned something new!

Here Is A 12-Song Playlist To Make Your Christmas Very Festive

Entertainment

Here Is A 12-Song Playlist To Make Your Christmas Very Festive

loslobos / Instagram

We love the holidays as it is the one time of year we truly embrace being home for the holidays and taking in all of our favorite Latin traditions. Tamales, check. Atole, check. The Loteria cards, check. Drunk Tío Juan in the corner, check. Now you cannot forget the tunes. While we most definitely have Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and Wham’s “Last Christmas” on the holiday playlist, we will certainly include our favorite Latin music artists as well. To make your life easier we made a list of the most beloved Latin holiday music. 

Los Lobos have just released a brand new Christmas song, and it’s so good!

Our favorite East L.A. rock band just released “Christmas And You” and it will make you so very nostalgic and teary-eyed. The music video was also shot on the streets of East Los. The holiday ballad was written by band members David Hidalgo and Louie Pérez. Los Lobos, who went mainstream for their recording of “La Bamba,” is back with a new album perfect for Christmas that the whole family will love.

The album is titled “Llego Navidad” and it includes holiday music from all over Latin America. 

According to a press release, Los Lobos started with 150 selections and narrowed their way down to a tracklist that includes a regional folk song from Veracruz in Mexico (“La Rama”), a rework of ’70s South American salsa hit “La Murga de Panamá,” the 1958 novelty song “Dónde Está Santa Claus” and the Tex-Mex border classic “Christmas Time In Texas.” It’s surely will be a classic for years to come. 

Juanes — “Mi Burrito Sabanero”

This is one of our favorite holiday songs from our childhood, so this new-ish version from 2009 is a family pleaser. There are lots of artists that cover this song, but Juanes by far is one of the best. 

Celia Cruz — “Campanas De Navidad”

If you’re throwing a real fiesta, your party playlist must include this salsa holiday song by the one and only Celia Cruz. 

Jenni Rivera — “Amarga Navidad”

Now we don’t wish a bad Christmas on anyone, but sometimes sh*t happens. It’s no secret that people typically break up during the holidays, so this song by Jenni Rivera will help somewhat. Let’s face it, you’re going to get tipsy anyway, so you might as well do it while listening to a song that you can relate to. 

José Feliciano — “Feliz Navidad”

José Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” goes hand-in-hand with Christmas just as much as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Heck, everyone knows the words to this song, especially non-Latinos. So, we’re lucky that we Latinos can basically assume all rights to this song at every holiday function — even that work office party. 

Hector Lavoe and Willie Colon – “Aires de Navidad”

With a glass of coquito, grab your favorite relative and get down to Hector Lavoe and Willie Colon’s “Aires de Navidad.” This song just speaks to our festive family that can be simultaneously bickering over politics and dancing at the same time. 

Yuri — “Eterna Navidad”

Now, if you really want to go old-school your holiday playlist must include this ’80s retro version of Yuri’s “Eterna Navidad.” The video will literally drive you mad, so just to stick to the song and forget this dizzy video. 

Alejandro Sanz — “Noche de Luz”

For those romantical folks who want to get in the holiday spirit but also want to secretly daydream over the lustful Alejandro Sanz, his “Noche de Luz” song will melt your heart. 

José Alfredo Jiménez — “Se Va Diciembre”

Your abuelitos will love that you included a lovely ranchera ballad from their heyday. The inclusion of José Alfredo Jiménez’s “Se Va Diciembre” will perhaps score you an extra present this year. You’re welcome. 

Luis Miguel — “Santa Claus Llego A La Ciudad”

After watching the life story of Luis Miguel on Netflix we can’t help but feel a little closer to the crooner. So here he is doing what he knows best, singing his heart out. 

Prince Royce — “Mi Regalo Favorito”

This Christmas playlist would not be completed without the addition of Prince Royce’s “Mi Regalo Favorito” from 2013. It’s got everything you could possibly want: that bachata beat, Spanglish lyrics, and Prince Royce’s lovely voice. 

We hope you liked our holiday roundup. If there’s anything we missed let us know in the comment section below!

READ: Mariah Carey Is Re-Issuing Her ‘Merry Christmas’ Album With New Content And The Internet Is Losing Its Mind

Amid All The Drama Of The Latin Grammys And Urbano Music, Here’s What Happened At Last Night’s Latin Grammys

Entertainment

Amid All The Drama Of The Latin Grammys And Urbano Music, Here’s What Happened At Last Night’s Latin Grammys

NBC Universal / YouTube

The 2019 Latin Grammys hosted by Ricky Martin kicked off yesterday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. There were some big wins for Juan Luis Guerra, Mon Laferte, Christian Nodal, Bad Bunny, Luis Enrique and — much to many Latinxs’ chagrin — Spanish singers Rosalia, who won Album of the Year, and Alejandro Sanz.

However, there were many highlights of the evening as well. Legends Celia Cruz, Juan Gabriel, Joan Sebastian, and Gustavo Cerati received a lavish tribute. Vincente Fernandez made his story when he brought his son Alejandro and grandson Alex Jr. on stage to perform. Bad Bunny gave a disruptive speech about the Latin Grammys snubbing reggaeton artists, and strangely enough, a member of Metallica showed up. These are the 2019 Latin Grammys highlights. 

A tribute to late Latinx legends ushers in a star-studded 2019 Latin Grammys. 

Brazillian singer Anitta was accompanied by merengue veterans Olga Tañon and Milly Quezada to perform a samba and merengue infused version of “La Vida es un Carnaval,” to honor Celia Cruz. Then Mexican crooners Carlos Rivera, Reik, and Leon Garcia came on stage to perform JuanGa’s “Querida.” 

Natalia Jimenez, Calibre 50, and Prince Royce performed Mexican singer-songwriter Joan Sebastian’s “Secreto de Armor.” Ricky Martin was joined by Draco Rosa, Fito Paez, and Beto Cuevas to honor Gustavo Cerati with their rendition of Soda Stereo’s “Musica Ligera.” 

Miguel sang in Spanish and everyone lost their minds.

Miguel performed a Spanglish version of “Show Me Love” with Alicia Keys. After the Mexican heartthrob sang his parts in Spanish, people on Twitter kind of lost it. 

“Miguel singing in Spanish is making me feel some type of waaaay *heart eyes*,” one user wrote. 

“Seeing @Miguel sing during the Latin Grammys with @aliciakeys was something else. Sensual and romantic at the same time,” another Twitter user wrote.

“My parents are watching Latin Grammys and I look up to see Miguel and Alicia Keys performing I was likeajxjdjxj,” a stunned user wrote. 

Mon Laferte bared her chest on the red carpet for Chilean rights.

We can’t exactly show you the full photo, but Chilean musician Mon Laferte, who won Best Alternative Music Album, bravely exposed her breasts to get the public’s attention about human rights in Chile. Written across her decollete in black ink were the words “En Chile Torturan Violan,” which translates to “In Chile They Torture, Rape, And Kill.” 

At least 20 people have been killed during protests in Chile about wealth inequality (the nation is one of Latin America’s wealthiest) and better social services following the government’s announcement of higher subway fares. Tens of thousands of protesters set up fiery barricades and confronted riot police in October. 

Vincente Fernandez showed three generations of Mexican artistry. 

“I’m a grateful man for my family and my music,” Vicente Fernandez said as he was joined on stage by his son Alejandro and grandson Alex. “When you listen to the voice of who has your blood, you feel immortal.” 

Alejandro performed his latest single “Caballero.” Throughout the tear-jerking performance by the trio, family photos were displayed in the background. 

 “I still needed to sing 50 more songs but I owe it to you. All I want to say to God and my public is that you know you are a part of me until the day they bury me. Thank you,” Vincente said after receiving a standing ovation. 

Bad Bunny stood up to the industry while accepting his reward. 

Bad Bunny scored his first Latin Grammy for Best Urban Album for X100Pre. Bunny was one of many artists to join Maluma in defending reggaeton against the industry’s consistent snubbing of musicians of the genre.

 “Reggaeton is part of Latin music,” he said. “To my colleagues, let’s give it our all. The genre has become about views and numbers but we have to bring different things to the table.”

Nella won Best New Artist. 

Venezuelan artist Nella, a Berkeley College of Music alumni, won Best New Artist. She snagged the tile from Paulo Londra, Greeicy, Aitina, and Cami. 

“This is for everyone who, like me, comes from another country looking for new opportunities,” she said.

Juanes win Person of the Year and gets a surprise from Metallica.

Colombian rock musician Juanes won Person of the Year after performing a medley of songs including “A Dios Le Pido” and “La Camisa Negra.” He was surprised by Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich who presented him the award. 

 “You guys changed my life,” Juanes told Ulrich. The drummer says he met Juanes ago while performing in Mexico. 

“Tonight we come full circle. I proclaim myself a Juanes fan, my friend, my parcero, I’m proud to recognize you as Person of the Year for the Latin Recording Academy,” Ulrich said.