Salsa > Read any good books lately?

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by brujo, Nov 12, 2003.

  1. brujo

    brujo New Member

    Hey all, I need to kill some time in the subway commute to work. Do you have any recommendations on books in salsa history, band biography, etc, etc, etc?

  2. salsachinita

    salsachinita New Member

    Yes, Brujo. I've got two.

    "Salsa - musiccal heartbeat of Latin America" by Sue Steward (Thames & Hudson) I have my copy signed by Oscar D'Leon :D

    "Latin Jazz - The Perfect combination" by Raul Fernandez (Cronical Books) This one is bilingual.

    Happy reading!
  3. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Here's a fairly interesting one for you Brujo...

    Ospina, Hernando Calvo
    1995 ¡Salsa! Havana Heat: Bronx Beat, trans. Nick Caistor. London: Latin America Bureau.
  4. I'm reading two right now, both very good, both books that I've already learned quite a bit from.

    One is a collection of interviews by Leonardo Padura Fuentes, called Faces of Salsa (originally in Spanish).

    The other is an academic work in ethnomusicology, but pretty readable: Lisa Waxer's City of Musical Memory: Salsa, Record Grooves, and Popular Culture in Cali, Colombia.

    I'm not really a Latin jazz fan, but Cubano Be Cubano Bop looks like something I might want to read anyway.
  5. A little off-topic, but I'm hearing good things about the book [google]Stomp and Swerve[/google], a history of American (in the sense of U.S.) music from--well, here this is simpler: [google]Stomp and Swerve[/google]
  6. looyenyeo

    looyenyeo New Member

    For a salsa history, I can recommend:
    Cuban Fire by Isabelle Leymarie. Extremely well researched and structured. It does read a little bit like the Iliad i.e. it goes into a lot of detail about who played with whom and when.

    For merengue, it has to be the one by Paul Austerlitz: Merengue - Domincan Music and Dominican Identity.

    For an all-round overview on the functions of dance, I thought that Gerald Jonas wrote well, though the book I'm referring to is no longer in print (BBC press strikes again). I always find general reading of this sort helpful in situating my activites in context. Sometimes it's easy to see the tree and not the forest.

  7. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Where can you find these books? Barnes and Noble? Probably not. Are there websites or retailers out there that specialize in these types of books? Please PM me. I have some reading to do. :lol: 8)
  8. Jenn, the chains bookstores (as well as the independents) near me will do special orders. Can't you do it that way? Otherwise, there are online distributors.
  9. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Thanks. I'll try googling, and B&N, to see if they can get a couple titles for me. 8)
  10. salsamale

    salsamale New Member

    Anyone have any recommendations for novels (fiction) related to salsa or latin dance?
  11. nycsalsero

    nycsalsero Member

    There was a lady selling a hardcover fiction book about life in the salsa scene in nyc at lincoln center this past summer. I wish I could remember the name of the book...
  12. salsamale

    salsamale New Member

    nycsalsero, a search on Amazon turned up:
    "Mambo Peligroso: A Novel", by Patricia Chao
    which is based in NYC, and available at my local library, so thanks :)

    Some others:
    "Faith in Carlos Gomez: A Memoir of Salsa, Sex, and Salvation", by Samantha Dunn
    "Adventures of a Salsa Goddess", by JoAnn Hornak
    but these aren't based in NYC.

    any others?
  13. Oscar Hijuelos: The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, which I read a long time ago. You can read a summary and some reader reviews on amazon.

    The story is set around many famous musicians and clubs of the time, that is the part that I liked. For my personal taste the book had too many sex scenes.
  14. salsamale

    salsamale New Member

    salsera_alemana, "The Mambo Kings", the movie, was good, so I'm sure the book will be good. Also available at my local library, so thanks :)
  15. Another book for those of you who read German:
    Arne Birkenstock & Eduardo Blumenstock: Salsa, Samba, Santería (comes with a music CD with 19 songs).
    This book gives an overview of many types of Latin American music, their history and their countries of origin.
    There are chapters about music in Mexico and Central America, in the Andes, in the southern countries of South America, protest and revolutionary songs (Mercedes Sosa, Violeta Parra), Santería, Brasil, Cuba, Salsa, Bolero, Tango and a final chapter with an overview of instruments and rhythm patterns. Very nice book!
    You can find it at amazon dot de.
  16. just-a-salsera

    just-a-salsera New Member

    "Looking for La Bomba: The Cuban Adventures of a Musical Oaf" by Richard Neill. It's about a British guy, who is so dissatisfied with his comfortable but uninspiring life in London, that he decides to leave it all and go to Cuba to learn to play double bass and perform on stage with a Cuban Son Band.

    I loved this book: funny and very well written!
  17. mamboqueen

    mamboqueen Well-Known Member

    Holy stromboli! I completely agree - the book is FAR more explicit than the movie, and it was rather gratuitous if you ask me. Having said that, the book was much better than the movie....
  18. alemana

    alemana New Member

    "MAMBO PELIGROSO" is prolly what you saw, NYCSALSERO, as some others have said. the cover photo, of a couple in a dip, is of actual new york salseros (not models) Tony Luna and Sandra Berganza.
  19. OneCentSalsero

    OneCentSalsero New Member

    damn ima have to get it and have Tony autograph it for me lol
  20. salsamarty

    salsamarty New Member

    Couldn't put this one down

    Try "Cuba and It's Music" by Ned Sublette (2004). Available from

    It is extremely well written. 600 pages and I breezed right through it. It covers salsa from the stone age to about 1960.

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