Salsa > Mambo versus Salsa

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by Dennis Simmons, Jul 28, 2003.

  1. youngsta

    youngsta Active Member

    :lol: Yeah I'm confused too. He's talking about the music?
  2. Dennis Simmons

    Dennis Simmons New Member

    Well, as I have explained to you in my prior post, you are full of prunes.
    You do not know what you are talking about. My recommendation is that you become educated on this subject before causing yourself further embarrassment.
  3. salsarhythms

    salsarhythms New Member

    Rather than point out the obvious personal attacks, I'll let
    your comments stay for everyone to see...

    As far as your other comments, this is why it makes no sense:

    Being of Puerto Rican, and Cuban, and Dominican nationality
    I will not argue of the richness of my culture. Now, to say
    that the Cuban culture is the richest, well, that's a matter of

    Those same artists you speak of are the same ones who
    would be against calling their music "Salsa"...not because
    of the promoter who, in your words, is out to make a buck,
    or because there is such a huge difference that it would be
    an insult to put it in its own category...but because of one thing:

    Ego's the size of countries.

    Ego's so big that they will take a resonable person, and make
    them say unreasonable things.

    You see, salsa is what it is today because of these "out to sell
    something" promoters, because of the musicians, because of
    the Puerto Ricans, because of the Cubans, because of the Haitians
    (Yes I said Haitians), because of the Africans...should I keep going?

    Or was it that life started in Cuba?

    I'm not sure about you, but it's pretty general knowledge that it
    did not start in's bigger than Cuba, it's bigger than Puerto
    Rico, however, I don't know if it's bigger than some of the
    ego's surrounding this whole scene.

    Sure say what you'd like, scream, shout, insult, but the fact
    remains, had it not been for these promoters, chances are
    that the world would not have known about Son montuno (By the
    way, thanks for the definition of the word "son"...), or Bomba,
    y Plena, or Guaguanco, or Abakua, or Bembe (All rhythms with
    roots in Africa).

    I personally could not love a culture more than my own hispanic
    culutre, but I too see the negative...and one of those is the
    reason why this argument is argued over and over...

    Because of ego, plain and simple.

    So it's not because I'm uninformed, but because in the whole scheme
    of things, like I said before...


    Of course, we can always go with your way of thinking and simply
    isolate every single culture and take away anything any culture
    took from another culture...I wonder where'd we be...I can guarantee
    you though, there'd be no such thing as Son if we did that...
  4. salsarhythms

    salsarhythms New Member

    I would also like to add something here to Dennis...

    I don't argue about the incredible contributions of Cuban
    artists to music and dance, and in some cases you are
    right in saying that many other hispanic artists may not
    give proper credit to this heritage.

    I can agree with you on that...

    It's just that based on my own interpretation (which of
    course that's all it is regardless of whose point of view
    you share) there really is no such thing as's
    still very much mambo.

    Again, that's my opinion...
  5. Dennis Simmons

    Dennis Simmons New Member


    I suppose, then, we will just have to agree to disagree.

    Let me, however, point out several things. I have hardly been arguing the supremacy of one culture over another. While I happen to love the music of Puerto Rico (bomba, plena, decima, aguinaldo) and take every available opportunity to attend performances of typical music around the island, I am not tempted to throw these musical forms into the "salsa" basket. Further, because I live in the island, I happen to know that Puerto Ricans, in the main, know nothing about music that is based on African rumba. The music that derives from rumba has never been danced on counts 1 and 5 of the 8-count musical refrain, a rhythmic emphasis characteristic of plena and other genres of Puerto Rican music. Now, the apparent gap between fact and what you might hear from Puerto Ricans could be accounted for in the fact that, with the possible exception of folks in the state of Texas, they are among the most closed-minded and provincial people on the planet. Don't misunderstand me, I adore both the people and the culture of this island. But, they do have their ticks (possibly it's something in the water). It is their general view that, if they have not heard of it, either it doesn't exist or, at the minimum, it cannot possibly be worth anything. Not surprisingly, when Willie and Hector started doing their thing in the Bronx, they went with what was within their musical experience. That is why salsa is structured musically on counts 1 and 5 and has been danced, from day one, on counts 1 and 5 of the 8-count musical refrain.

    Well, before laying aside this point of contention, Fernando, I will ask your indulgence in one final request. Humor me, if you will, by having a listen to some of the great contemporary music by Africans and African emigres, most notable among them Sam Mangwana ("Rumba Music"), Africando ("Baloba" and "Mandali"), and a 2003 entry from coastal Columbia that is not to be believed, Batata y Su Rumba Palenquera ("Radio Bakongo"), then tell me whether or not you find any essential difference (from a music and dance perspective) between that music and the music of New York. If you can't find these CDs locally, you can get them from Bruce at
  6. will35

    will35 New Member

    I'm just curious. It is a big hassle to go to Cuba to find out myself. So I am asking here. How much does what the rumba people dance in the ballrooms in the United States resemble the baile(s) de salon that people dance today in Cuba? Do they teach dances there, or do they just dance? Is there some gov't program to promote, categorize, syllabize the various dances? Is there a right way and a wrong way in Cuba? Does Fidel dance to the danzon? I saw a book a few days ago by a guy who claimed to have introduced the rumba to Florida and to the United States. It had some footprint diagrams of some exercises and rumba steps. Sounded like a crock to me. Who knows?
  7. salsarhythms

    salsarhythms New Member


    You know, I was reading your post, and when I got to the part
    where you said:

    "Now, the apparent gap between fact and what you might hear from Puerto Ricans could be accounted for in the fact that, with the possible exception of folks in the state of Texas, they are among the most closed-minded and provincial people on the planet."

    I started to become very upset...

    I then began to think about my own experiences and, surprisingly
    enough, I began to settle down.

    Yes they are a proud people.

    And, yes, hard-headed, but...

    Who isn't?

    I usually don't go around making generalizations and I won't
    start now.

    The main reason why I started to calm down after reading that
    is that at some point we have all been guilty of such stereotypes.

    The Cubans say that about the Puerto Ricans.

    The Puerto Ricans say that about the Cubans.

    Even as I grew up in a mixture of Puerto Rican, Dominican and
    Cuban family, I heard it all along....

    "Oh well, titi Iris is just like that...cause she's Puerto Rican"


    "That's what you get when you marry a Cuban"

    or any number of other things...

    That was the main reason why I decided to travel, and to basically be
    away from all of my family. I grew absolutely sick and tired of
    it. But it's still there...

    I'm sure everyone who speaks like that has their reasons...but really
    who's close-minded...the Puerto Ricans you speak of, or yourself
    who sees things so broadly as to say something like that of an
    entire culture and an entire people?

    Please don't get me wrong, when I say "you", I also include everyone
    who I've come across with similar attitudes...including my family.

    I will get the CD's you mention, because in reading and re-reading
    your posts, I have been able to take away a lot of great information
    and believe me, regardless of how our opinions may differ, I thank you
    for the time you have taken out and informed both myself and the
    community here at Dance-Forums.

    I truly feel that you are very passionate about this subject, I just
    ask that comments like that be left to the privacy of your own home.

    Never would I want someone to come in here and have a preconceived
    notion as to who are the Puerto Ricans, or the Cubans or the
    Dominicans. And I say this for the same reasons that you are living
    in Puerto Rico...because they are truly beautiful people, just like
    all the others in our Hispanic heritage and I just don't think that a
    generalization like that would be a good thing for anyone.
  8. Dennis Simmons

    Dennis Simmons New Member

    Guilty as charged


    If the charge is hyperbole, then of course my plea is guilty. Obviously, there are many Puertorriquenos like yourself that don't fit that mold. Just the fact of having left the island is the mark of a broader perspective than that. My father, for example, born and raised in Ponce and an incredible natural dancer, was anything but narrow in his world view.

    Still, sarcasm can be a useful tool for emphasis of a point where there is at least a modicum of truth in it. The comment was really directed at islanders who have never been away from the island and who have either not had the opportunity or have not availed themselves of the opportunity for an education. My intent is not to cast aspersions (I could catalog my own warts, but I won't trouble you with that here) but to point to the reality of life for many in this island. That in no way compromises my respect and love for the people and the culture of Puerto Rico. They are a warm, disarmingly open, and creative people who are, pound for pound, probably the greatest musicians on the planet. Nevertheless, I do take some of their opinions with a grain of salt.
  9. salsarhythms

    salsarhythms New Member

    I can definately understand that, because not only have I
    seen it around me...but it's in my family as to a
    point I understand what you mean.

    Obviously, hearing that from someone you don't know about
    your people, it kind of gives you a bit of a spark...which is what
    I pointed out in my last post...

    But all that aside...

    Let's get this thing back on track...I've seen some of your posts
    and have truly enjoyed them...let's come up with something else
    we can disagree on...

    What do you say?? :wink:

    I think the Mambo Vs. Salsa thing is pretty much dead now, not
    just here but everywhere else...

    I'd like to see a post about other aspects of this explosion
    of salsa...Where do you think it came from? The promoters, the
    artists, the puertoricans, the cubans...?? (Not trying to stir up
    controversy, but these are subjects I'm very interested in and would
    like to see some discussions on it...)

    So Dennis, Boriken, and absolutely everyone else, please, post away.
  10. Black Sheep

    Black Sheep New Member

    salsa swings at the pbda

    Salsa Lovers,
    I changed my mind when I said, 'Salsa sucks when compared to Mambo'.
    After a few exposure to some classy Salsa dancing at the PBDA, I finally saw the beauty of salsa, and relized I was comparing oranges with apples. I would like to go on record as saying Salsa is every bit a great dance as Mambo and although there is a generic relationship to the Mambo, they are equally unique and exciting.
    I have a saying, "When you are wrong, admit it and then you become right!"
    Black Sheep, "Talk is Cheap, but Verification is Golden". Joe Lanza 2003 a.d.
  11. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    I'd like to see a post about other aspects of this explosion
    of salsa...Where do you think it came from? The promoters, the
    artists, the puertoricans, the cubans...?? (Not trying to stir up
    controversy, but these are subjects I'm very interested in and would
    like to see some discussions on it...)

    There are a bunch of stories going around of where salsa came from. There is the one that musicologists have, which aside from very minor details, is the same and the ego filled 100's of stories waged by proud member of the Mambo community.

    When speaking of about salsa explosion, we can't leave out the jazz muscians as well as the other ethnic groups musician's who made their living inside the NYC music scene, from the 50s to the 80s. Salsa really ins't a creation of the rican community in el Barrio, but the joined work of all the talented artists that worked out of NY City. Yes, there was a lot of talented rican artists but there was also black, jews, dominicans, etc.
    First and foremost we must mention Johnny Pacheco and Jerry Masucci, why first? Because they are the creators of Fania who in turn compiled the greatest talents in NY City and rode the wave of some of the best salsa in the 70's. A lot of arguments go around speaking of salsa in the 50s and 60s, too bad the first song labled as a salsa wasn't until 68 or 69. I forget who released it, and even worse, I forget the song. Musicologist say that before salsa there was pachanga from 65 to 69, and before that was boogaloo from 60 to 65. As it is believed the closest relative of salsa is the pachanga, only because straight out of this wave of new music, salsa followed. Those are the only 3 latin beats that have been born straight out of NY City. The other lousy argument of Tito Puente calling Salsa something he puts in his food is even worse, why so? To understand we must first follow his musical background, Tito studied the classics at Juilliard School of Music. He was a music purist, he couldn't allow Mambo to turn into a wild street beat and call it salsa, so he kept calling it Mambo... Learning more about his background will yield his reasoning behind his famous sentence. To me they are different, if to you they are the same, then so be it. After all even guaguanco, guajira, son monutno sounds very close to mambo. Also remember that the term salsa was never used until after Fania at the Cheetah in 71 was way over. 2 of my instructors were actually there when this happened. Oh, the stories they have.

    Now going back to the origin of salsa, I can't be a purist and say Africa, as many which to argue, only because if that was the case then there wouldn't be any type of anyone in the world but africans and we all know that isn't the case. We have all evolved to be our own group. Just as salsa did evolved to become what it is.

    The first use of the clave is attributed to Cuban son. The clave beat is what holds salsa together, just as almost all latin beats. So when speaking of the roots of salsa we shouldn't look any further than Cuba as its building blocks. The Afro rhythms incorporated in what later became know as salsa also has it's roots in mainly cuban music, but also, Dominican, Rican, even columbian.

    The vocals and lyrical building of salsa is Spaniard, or european if you wish. So is the count, in African music there was no count, in fact that is the reason the european 4 beats to a musical measure mold of playing music was added to latin styles. It was very difficult to add other instruments to the wild quadruple (I also forget the musical lingo for this kind of wild music which doesn't play to eurpean mold) syncopated percussion routines which many african rhythms were known for. The longest African measure is said to have 23 beats. Out of european numbers came the number rountine for dancing as well. Latin music, nor Afro-Latin dancing ever had it before.

    The leading founding father of salsa is Willie Colon. Although Johnny Pacheco was the founder of la fania he was never able to ride the new wave so he decided to sit back and remake old cuban classics. He stayed with his charanga beat and added cuban songs to his repertoire.

    Willie Colon is attributed with giving a chance to Lavoe, as well as Blades. Almost all great new musicians came way of Willie Colon's band. Willie is also the one who persuaded Blades to give Lavoe the song El Cantante which was originally meant for Blades to sing. The mastermind behind Fania's salsa beats is Louie Rodriguez who is said to have written over 100 songs a month during a period of time, some horrible ones as well. He is also credited with ending Salsa Dura and giving birth to the first salsa romantica album in 82, which to that date became the best selling salsa album ever. Why? Salsa music finally hit a home-run with the female latin population, something it failed to do during the hay-days of salsa dura.

    Although Celia became the Queen of Salsa she isn’t a direct child of salsa. She was an already made singer when she came to the states and got involved in the scene. Ruben Blades is accredited with keeping salsa dura alive after Louie messed it up. If it wasn’t for Ruben salsa dura would have died in 82.

    An unknown band to new salseros which was thought to be the one band to listen for new wild beats in the world of salsa was Los Flamboyan. A band led by Frankie Dante, who was known for trying anything and everything, plus giving the liberty of all his musicians to put their two cents into almost every song. Rumor has it that he was Black Labeled by Ralph Mercado. I must believe the rumor, I gave Ralph Mercado a ride to his apt once and we got talking about why he can’t play Frankie Dante’s stuff in his club and he was very resilient to speak about him and told me that they had their differences. Maybe I’m the one jumping to conclusions.

    While salsa was growing huge in NY a group know as El Gran Combo also began playing the new beat. A more laid back version of the Salsa Dura from NY City but never the less, this new music genre catapulted the group to become the ultimate in Salsa music for the passed 40 years. This group has been the measuring stick for all other salsa bands. El gran combo was formed out-of-the disarray of Cortijos band. :shock: Cortijo’s band was popular in PR for a great beat of Bomba, and plena. Cortijo is also accredited with teaching Roena the bongos and persuading Maelo to start singing. God, I almost forgot to mention Tito Curet Alonso. In my opinion the gratest salsa song writter ever! How can one argue, with songs such as Calle Luna - Calle Sol, Juanito Alimaña, La Cura, El Periodico De Ayer, Anacaona, Las Caras Lindas....

    To cut it short as not to bore you guys from all my spewing, I accredit the explosion of salsa to the living conditions of el barrio at the time. The Barrio got its chance to shine and be proud of something which was theirs. Something that would sooth their aching lives; salsa. While at Salsa Clubs in NY City, Ricans, Dominicans, Blacks, Jews, Italians were all the same. This was their one time to tell their stories through music, be at equal with the rest of NY city, and strut their lifestyle in what became main stream NY City in the 70s. And the lead runners mostly being New Yorkers made it that much great to be part of the salsa wave. Without mentioning names Fania compiled the greatest artist salsa has ever known. They are salsa, they also killed it trying to get into every new beat that formed in NY City, which turned a lot of people off. Ahhh, Tipica 73, Los Flamboyan, God, how bad do I want it to be the 70s all over again. Now, why in the world is Victor Manuel singing with Fania? I just don’t know.

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