Salsa > What's the deal with salsa and hip hop

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by pygmalion, Oct 28, 2003.

  1. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    It's okay. You can treat me bad, if you want. I spent my FREE TIME thinking about these issues so I could post thought provoking questions. And now I get this disrespect! :lol: :lol: It's all right. My feelings aren't hurt. :wink: :lol: But yes, I think it would be great to have some explanation of the structure -- maybe in a different thread. Not so people can feel constrained by the structure, but by understanding it, you can choose to use it, or choose to free yourself from it.

    I think it was in this thread, where it was said that salsa, for a true salsero/salsera, becomes like a part of the family. That's the goal here. To get to know more intimate with salsa. :D
  2. Salsero_AT

    Salsero_AT New Member


    There is an explanation of the structure of salsa songs there and how you can use it when dancing. 8)
  3. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator


    Nope, sorry, I haven't had a chance to look up your artist but by your descriptions they sure seem deserving of a look.

    I am glad you notice how improvisation is the key to dancing this style of music that you speak of. However, it is sad to see that you fell prey to Salsa teachers who put emphasis on spinning and combos and on top it all say that is the structure to salsa dancing and take the improv it has out of its dancing.

    Salsa is composed of Guguanco, rumba, jazz, rock, merengue, cumbia, charanga, pachanga, son, son montuno, bomba, etc. Now if you have been taught that salsa is numbers and your instructors have failed to show you how to get to your inner dancer and instead have shown you how to do moves and steps you will fail to notice how hot salsa classic brings all music genre together and creates this unique blend that makes it so unbelievable.

    You must improv with your soul when you dance, if you follow the patterns and combos you were taught you will feel restricted, only because you aren’t letting your soul lose. Your soul wants to do something but your heads says NO, This is what you have to do, hence you have trapped the core of your emotions in your soul. Next time you go out forget about dancing as per moves, do a few moves once in a while, stay within the beat, dance around the basic, and see what you yourself come up with. Let the music take you. The music is telling a story, it is giving you emotion, let that emotion come out and see what it tells you to do. Very soon you’ll be back at the Cheetah club in the 70s dancing salsa with the soul instead of dancing salsa in 2003 with the head. Then and only then will you achieve the mastery classic salsa throws at you.

    Brujo, don’t fall into the trap that salsa must be done a given way and you must do it. Follow what your heart tells you to do, but sadly since the music is following the clave, you must follow it too. Getting out of it will mean that you stopped dancing salsa and have desired to go outside of it, hence, seeming to be greater than the music, if you aren’t one with the music you’ve failed to feel it and dance it. Just like the music has its basic structure so does its dance, so follow that one rule the dance has and let lose. You’ll improve through an entire dance, but don’t forget about your partner. You must be one with the music and her, not just yourself.

    Every word you said about the timba's applies to old school salsa. You should do improvs to the music, not worry about combinations. That was what got classic salsa so hot. The musicians only followed the clave and were free to do whatever they wished around the clave. They were free to play. They followed what son musicians used to do before them. Their only constraint was, become one with the rest of the band, out of many become one. Dancing any music should be about self expression, once you fall into the American built trap of you must do it this way, you will loose touch with that little drummer inside of you that tells you, Brujo I want to do this. Now, salsa has a rhythmic patter, so sadly to truly dance it, you must follow it, no matter how wild the song gets it is following a pattern. Just like I’m sure tumba is doing. They must follow something; otherwise the songs will sound bad because the musicians will never become one with each other, that is what makes classic salsa great. The wildness of the music always becomes one, the band stops being individual musicians and they become one soul.

    Now, Wayne Gorbea is hot, but not great. He is great compared to what we have now, so I decided to mention him because he is easy to find and is hot. Listening to Willie Colon, Johnny Pacheco, Hector Lavoe, Pete Rodriguez, Frankie Dante, Celia Cruz, Adalberto Santiago, La Sonora Poncena, El Gran Combo, Bobby Valentin, Yomo Torro, Alfredo De La Fe, Chivirico Davila, to name a few will leave you at an awe on how this musicians present your exact words about timba’s music. You have a predetermine notion of what classic salsa is, that notion is constricting you to look up on it and believe it that the musicians are being held back constricted, when in fact you have been taught to hold yourself back.

    How can a dance with so many blends of music and dance styles and with percussion be looked upon as boring? The mind...
  4. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    I'll take this one by one because I can't seem to write a short post. :cry:
    I'm going to get off the subject in hopes to make it easier to understand. If I can’t get my point across please let me know.

    Lets compare Salsa music to making love...
    You go out with your loved one, you have a great date, the flirting starts, talking is pleasant and indicative of future actions, the anticipation starts to build, the mood sets, the foreplay begins. Foreplay leads to the heavier actions, and those actions are followed by the climax, soon followed by a cool down period in form of a long hug and small soft talk until it ends…

    Now, even when lovemaking will always follow a predetermine set of physical rules, it doesn’t mean that we must absolutely adhere to them, hence they can and are interchangeable. Just because those predetermined events are the makeup of the overall action of lovemaking, they don’t make it boring nor does it mean that those ‘rules’ are to blame for the entire action being boring, or every time the same.

    The problem arises with execution and not the physical patters that are followed when love making. If the execution is poor, you will think of it as boring and if it keeps being poor and never changing then you will see it as all the same. However, most of us know that isn’t the case.

    When speaking to, lets say, a little kid about sex. Their words will be along the lines of, Yuck, I’m never going to do that, it’s disgusting. Despite how truthful their current words are, those words don’t account for the fact that the kid is speaking from a lack of understanding about lovemaking. Well, the same happens with listening to salsa. It is an acquired skill. One that must be learned over time in order to fully grasp what classic salsa is all about. Yes, we can feel the music like lovemaking, but to truly know how it is that we feel it and what causes us too feel it as such we must first learn about it…
  5. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Wow, pygmalion, you must really stay up late thinking up this things.
    The Montuno section is a call and response section, where there is either repeated singing (chorus) and instrumental solos. Depending what music genre the section is using is the dance that it belongs to. For example, the section can be repeted instrumental solos and choros likening a Cha Cha, so then you could use cha cha style to dance it. If the montuno section is from a son then you use son to dance it.

    The Mambo section is an improv or arranged lines with new stuff... Usually usning wind instruments... Does it belong to any dance form? I would have to say the name doesn't, but the patterned play will belong or really not belong to any form.

    Now that is the best I know, which on the topic of musical sections is scares. The sections are really just names to differentiante given parts in songs. My forte isn't music, but I can bet that all music follows predetermined sections to let the musicians know what is happening within the song. The intro, the set up of the story, the unfolding, the peak, then the end. The song has a life of itself, just like we as humans go from kids, to adolecents, to adults, to dying, to dead, the songs must follow that structure of its life span as well.
  6. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator


    Just finished listening to a number of songs. I've heard a few before, los van van I've known about them for a few years.

    What do I think of it?
    Sounds like they are going back in history and doing what classic salsa did. They are using instruments that La Flamboyan, Tipica 73 used to spice the new sounds of salsa. Rap like verses are very Willie Colon like who was the first person to ever 'Rap' in a salsa song. The Horn vamps are way Willie Colon, and the piano sound like they've gotten a lot input from NY City salsa, with pianists like Markolino Dimond, Charlie Palmieri, Eddie Palmieri, Larry Harlow, Papo Lucca. They are what I consider happy songs, their spice is between Salsa romantica and Salsa Classica, definitely much more than salsa romantica but not quite as much as the salsa classica dura. They are indeed hot, I would buy the stuff since it is a step in the right direction.

    These new cuban musicians have definitely left the monotony of tropical salsa and salsa romantica and have gone back to their roots while adding a pop like sounds which they blend very well. I can't help but to think cano estremera when I hear La Charanga Habanera sing. There is so much rich musical culture in Cuba and they are definitelly capitalizing from it.

    The music definitely has a strong son influence, as well as a salsa classica style. If you like this stuff, I'm sure you and I can sit down go through my collection, smoke a couple cigars, have some wisky until the explosiveness of the salsa clasica I play for us will kills us. You'll be surprised to hear your words about this new style in the classics. These guys almost sound classic with new beats, some of the stuff kills the songs but, hey, what genre doesn't have bad songs?
  7. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I'm not going to quote your entire post, but I could. This is such a great analogy! I can see exactly what you mean -- about the musical structure, about the importance of execution, and about the uninitiated thinking it's "yucky." Are you sure you weren't a poet or philosopher in a former life? Cause you sure are in this life! :D
  8. brujo

    brujo New Member

    Ya man, Casino is an all out swingers orgy, doing too many shines will make your palms hairy, instructional videos are the Kama Sutra and every man and woman out there is either an exhibitionist or a voyeur. The idea of competitions and shows kinda scares me... :shock:
  9. brujo

    brujo New Member

    I think we are on the same page here. I love the classic salsa that was being made in the early 70s, and I'm really glad that you dumped a whole bunch of artists my way so I can do some downlo... er, buying. A big part of its beauty is that the sounds were being experimented with and evolving.

    But look at the 'classic salsa' produced today. Marc Anthony? Gloria Estefan? Gilberto Santa Rosa? It seems that they are latching on to formulaic salsa that has been proven succesful in the past, and it just doesn't appeal to me. I find it hard to see the next Tito Puente or Cachao in the new crop of musicians playing the 'Traditional Salsa'. I do want to clarify, however, that classic son, done properly a la Compay Segundo, can still bring a little warmth to my cold dead heart.

    When my instructor introduced me to Timba, I couldn't contain myself. It was still the same music, but evolved. This is new, dynamic salsa, and the addition and experimentation with new sounds, hip-hop, other instruments, just makes it better. BTW, add Isaac Delgado to the list, he's pretty cool too...
  10. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Nope. I just have a curious nature, and I figure if I'm wondering, somebody else probably is too. *shrug*

    This is great. Actually, what made me think about this was your post under offers on the dancefloor -- the woman who broke into various traditional dances as the music called for it. Wow, btw. and at some point, I'd like to know a little more abuot this son dance you keep referring to. :D

    Cool. This section is easy for me to recognize now. almost every salsa song I've heard has it. Cool. Thanks. 8) :D
  11. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    This entire deal of classic salsa in today's music needs to be looked understanding what RMM did to salsa, once we know that, we can see why all salsa, aside from columbian salsa, sounds the same from about 1982 to today and mainstream america believes it to be what classic salsa was.

    The closest we hope to get to classic salsa is listening to Marc's band play live without him sing and the reason is they do a mean descarga. Marc has tried to blend a bit of classic with salsa romantica. He, however, has failed with the classic style because he has taken vocals and made them the center of the music, as opposed to the classics where the vocals where equal to the instruments. Marc is known in the salsa world for his lyrics, the musicians in his bands are excellent, however they aren't given the change to go nuts playing. Hence, why marc has only sang songs that are considered classics but never achieved the musical genius of classic salsa.

    Gloria Estefan is as far from the classics as salsa gets. No wonder sony decided to give Celia's album, Salsa ablum of the year during the latin grammys. An album that the salsa world doesn't even call a salsa album.

    While Gilbertito, willingly got away from the classics because he wanted to sing the music he loved but romantically. He noticed that there 'wasn't', now a days, salsa-boleros, which could be just for sitting back and listening so he became a bolero singer. Gilbertito has sang with the best of the best, but he isn't known for singing classic salsa nor producing classic salsa. The songs that he has sang that can be considered classics where when he was a youngester and starting out his career. He is known more for his bolero salsa style. A style that many old purists say is lacking, but in today's standard the best.

    I do agree with you that all that music, taking into account your style and taste, is monotonous. Where as tumba is giving us an example of what truly mixing classic sounds with todays music.
  12. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    I can tell you a little bit about the music son (sounds like laid back-slower tempo- salsa, minus a few instruments). However, all I can say about the dance is when my instructor says, this is son, look, this is how you dance it, how you are supposed to stand, and so on. I roll my eyes, laugh and say, girl you've got to be kidding me, I'm never gonna get that.

    Son is a cuban country side dance music from the Oriente part of Cuba, which uses elements of the spanish danza in form of the Cuban Danzon and african rhythms.

    It is a sweet 'laid' back music which mosts popular artist in the US are Beny More and group Buena Vista Social Club, of which Ibrahim Ferrar and Late Compay Segundo are/were members of. The popular song Chan Chan, are example of it.

    Sorry, I can't don't know much more than that.
  13. salsachinita

    salsachinita New Member

    Wow :shock: did I have fun reading this topic!
    Borikensalsero & Brujo, the improvisation you guys talked about is very alive & well in Melbourne amongst my musician brothers! We are very lucky to have a huge 'live band' culture as opposed to venues simply hiring DJs. These musicians get a chance to descarga every week & everyone there get completely lost in the frenzy...!
    Is this the salsa classica spirit we all all talking about.....?
  14. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Indeed, that is the style I am referring to. :D Great for you to have a chance to hear your brothers live and full of spice...
  15. I'm going to do something I shouldn't do and reply to this before I've finished reading the thread (I have to go to bed soon).

    I am ambivalent about this. The reggaeton I've heard doesn't sound like it has much salsa in it at all. I don't hate hip-hop (well, maybe in certain moods), but I love dancing to salsa. Mix too much hip-hop into it and it won't have the same feel any more. I'm not convinced the two can be blended all that much anyway, but even if the two genres were to be blended, you'd end up with a different feel.

    On the other hand, yes, things change. Salsa hasn't changed that radically for a long time, especially considering that it is a form of popular music. While salsa tends to be more multi-layered, rhythmically, than the hip-hop I've heard, it also has to stay within a more limited basic rhythm than hip-hop. (I mean, from song to song, the rhyhtmic structure of hip-hop can vary more.)

    I do try new things. I bought the Yerba Buena CD that came out this year, but was disappointed.

    I think Grupo Niche has successfully experimented with integrating new sounds into salsa. I even like some of DLG's songs. I like some remixes I have heard, like the versions of George Lamond's "Que Te Vas" or Africando's "Yay Boy" that get played in the clubs.

    Change things too much, and you'll lose whatever it is about salsa that we salsa lovers enjoy. Try to keep salsa from changing, and it will tend to lose its vitality. I'm not sure what the answer is. I don't want this music to die out, but realistically, it has an uphill battle against current pop music trends; and in general it has to overcome the fact that it is an old genre, while young people tend to want to listening to something that is new.
  16. (Never mind that Jay-Z says he listens more to modern rock than hip-hop these days.)

    Now that I think about it, I was at a studio dance party once and the DJ successfully mixed in some hip-hop sort of beats, sort of underneath the main song, so my partner and I started during more get down kind of freestyle stuff, and it worked nicely. But that partly has to do with the person I was dancing with, one of my favorite partners who really responds to the music.
  17. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    And lately(since this thread got started) the pop/dance station I listen to has introduced a couple reggaeton songs into their regular play list. It's not just the salsa stations anymore. I wonder what that's about. More dance evolution? Or just a fad? Or is salsa headed for a split -- traditionalists versus evolutionists? I could see that happening. Some clubs/radio stations developing a traditional following, some developing a more cutting edge crowd. There's definitely that divide in the R&B scene.
  18. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Just a thought...
    Before the new timba sounds came out a few years ago, there was another beat, something back in the early 60s to mid 60s, a music genre known as Boogaloo. Boogaloo is basically son with R&B/HipHop/Reggea incorporated beats/lyrics. I personally don't like that many Boogaloo songs, although many good ones can be found. Granted Reggea/hiphop wasn't the same then as it is now, but the idea has been toyed with for quite some time. It die out around 64 when the pachanga craze started, which too died rather fast around 69 because of the new sound "llamado Oriza" I mean salsa. :D Sorry, that is a line from Maelo's song Oriza. Nothing to do with salsa.
  19. One thing that occurred to me (and I was reminded of it by something someone said elsewhere on another salsa/hip-hop thread): maybe salsa will end up being music that continues to appeal to people 30 and above. Is it true that it's never been that much of a young person's music in most places? Maybe it is something that is there waiting for people as they get just a little bit older. Just a speculation.

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