The term “mambo” refers to the musical style and refers to a certain section of a salsa song in which the rhythm is played with cowbells. Salsa music refers to a style that developed among Cuban and Puerto Rican immigrants in the New York City area in the 1960s and 1970s with a stylistic change as Salsa Romantica in the 1980s. The term covers several styles and variations and is also used to describe various forms of popular Cuban music. At its roots, it’s a mix of Spanish and African music filtered through the musical history of Cuba and Puerto Rico and adapted by Latin American jazz and pop musicians and the different musical tastes of the population.
Salsa is a unique genre of music created in New York in the 1960s by Puerto Ricans, influenced by Afro-Cuban sons, Afro-American jazz, and Puerto Rican musical traditions. The name was used as a label for various styles of Latin dance music. Still, it is considered a distinctive musical style and one of the staples of the culture. Salsa represents a mixture of Latin musical genres, but its main component is Cuban dance music.
Peter Manuel claims that in the mid-1970s, when a group of New York Latin musicians began reworking the classic Big Band arrangements that were popular in the Mambo era (1940s and 50s), “Salsa” described a specific style of music and that it was popularized by Venezuelan radio station Jerry Masucci and Fania Records in the late 1960s. Salsa is often used in the 1970s as if it was a specific “music style” when New York musicians used classic big-band arrangements from the mambo era of the 1940s and 1950s to contemporary Latin music.
Many Latin American musicians in New York were Puerto Rican musicians. They invented the style known as salsa which was based on Cuban and, to a lesser degree, Puerto Rican music. The term “salsa” was propagated in the international dance music industry by the original Cuban artists and promoters. For this reason, Cuban musicians, such as Manolito y su Trabuco and Orquesta Sublime, were called the sound of salsa Cubana at the end of the 1980s. This term included Cuban music as part of the movement for the first time.
Traditional vs Modern
Cuba has a rich musical history that has enabled many Latin dances to flourish and grow, eventually transforming into new forms that, in the 1920s, led to modern salsa dancing and salsa music. Cuban musicians and promoters began using the first radio recordings of songs in the 1930s to promote optimistic Latin American music imported from the US mainland.
The explosion of Latin music and sound began to spread to Central and South America, leading to the development and popularization of modern forms of tango, mambo, flamenco, and various other musical and dance styles. The rest of the music builds on clave and adds complex rhythms with congas, timbales, bass, bells, bongos, etc. Salsa is now considered a term that refers to lively and dynamic Puerto Rican dance music that combines African, Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Spanish sounds with older musical genres and jazzy arrangements.
There’s a lot of controversy about the birthplace of salsa because some people think it’s Cuba, but it borrows and updates a lot of the Afro-Cuban music styles. Cuban genres are sons of African songs’ traditional call and response patterns, which strongly influence salsa. Most of the songs considered salsa music are based on Son de Montuno’s elements of guaracha, Latin jazz, bomba, plena, and mambo.
This style, developed by Cuban and Puerto Rican immigrants in the New York City area in the 1960s and 1970s and a stylistic descendant since the 1980s, Salsa Romantica, is still practiced throughout Latin America. It is called Musica Tropical in some countries. Salsa music is a close relative of Cuban mambo, the son of the orchestra, and Latin jazz of the early 20th century. Unlike the style in LA, Cuban salsa music is not so popular because it does not harmonize so well with the dance style in LA.
Big band leaders like Puerto Rico’s Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, and Cuba’s Machito expanded the son’s Mambo section to create a new style of music and formed the musical basis for creating it. In the dance halls, performers played groups such as Arsenio Rodriguez’s band, Machito and his Afro-Cuban band, and Tito Puente, one of the most popular artists of all time. In addition to its roots, the role of record company Fania and the enormous success of the salsa bands it formed and sponsored and its stars was an important element of the initial enthusiasm and later spread of salsa.
The famous American percussionist and bandleader Tito Puente is credited with developing the sound of salsa, but he was not convinced that it was a musical style. In the same vein, many apocryphal legends about the first use of the term go: bandleaders and musicians began bellowing DJs “salsa” as they introduced energetic music acts, spurring dancers and musicians to more hectic activities. For many in the Hispanic community, it remains the most popular dance style.