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Guide To World Music: Salsa (中文译版:瓜瓜|梁斯华)


Salsa. Latin/Caribbean /US

Salsa was born out of the encounter of Cuban and Puerto Rican music with big-band jazz in the Latin barrios of New York. Today it is a global music, massively popular across the Caribbean, Latin and the US. Literally the word salsa means ‘sauce’ and in Latin American musical circles it takes its origins from a cry of appreciation for a particularly piquant or flashy solo.


Salsa has been immensely popular in Colombia since the 1970s. As in many other Latin American countries the local bands began by copying what they heard on the radio and records, but very soon started to incorporate elements of local music.

Big names in Colombian salsa include Diego and Jaime Galé and their band Grupo Galé, from Medellin, and the Cuban-born violinist Alfredo de la Fé, who lived in the same town for several years. There are also a clutch of bands based in the old sugar town of Cali, which has an independent recording and club scene.

While bands like La Sonora Dinamita stayed loyal to the compulsive 2/4 beat of the cumbia, another strand developed around the vallenato line. What began as a country folk dance in the towns and villages dotted along the wide river plains of the northeast has become a national passion. Accordionists such as Lizandro Meza and Alfredo Gutierrez are now national heroes, and a new generation – sons of those men – have brought teenaged audiences to vallenato salsa.


In Cuba, the cauldron of salsa, the years after the revolution were spent re-evaluating and rebuilding the music scene.

By the 1990s, Cuban influences had begun to flood into salsa again with increased access via Europe’s music festivals and touring schedules for the bands. Many US and Puerto Rican artists covered the hits of Cuban singers – Willie Chirino in Miami and La Sonora Ponceña and Roberto Roena in Puerto Rico all had hits with tunes written by Los Van Van and Son 14.

The late 1990s have seen an explosion of Cuban groups, heavily influenced by what they see on MT V and on the CD s which arrive via family in the US. With the new accessibility, Cuba’s musical future is more unpredictable than any other part of Latin America.


Miami sits like a lighthouse, just ninety miles from Cuba, radiating and receiving music from the Caribbean and Latin America. Miami’s Cuban 40-somethings who arrived in the city as children, have opted for styles at all positions along the Latin music spectrum.

This Beatles-and-salsa generation created what is known as the Miami Sound, the variable blend of salsa with rock and pop. Chirino favours a vibrant percussion section, a salsa-Caribbean base and rock fantasies, while Emilio and Gloria Estefan – the most successful Latin artists in mainstream American – have trawled through many types of Latin and Spanish music during their successful career.

New York

New York is central to the story of salsa and its developments. High up in Manhattan, Washington Heights is about 80-percent Dominican. The heavy meringue (and ubiquitous meren-house) beat rumbles through clubs where the island’s top bands play alongside New York’s even more frenetic local outfits. Latin-Jazz was a growing feature through the 1990s, running a parallel and overlapping story with salsa. New York has been its capital ever since Mario Bauza and Machito coined the concept of Afro-Cuban Jazz and Tito Puente picked up the baton.

Today’s musicians have mostly trained in classical music and salsa. Mainstream jazz has been transformed by the presence of the new breed of rhythm-based players, particularly the pianists Hilton Ruiz, Michel Camilo, Chucho Valdes, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and the saxophonist David Sanchez, who have transformed the style with their rhythmic often danceable creations. Paquito D’Rivera, formerly of Cuba’s big band Irakere, and now a New Jersey-ite, pops up in many settings around the city. His presence since the early 1980s has invigorated the Latin jazz scene which is centred in the city.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Ricans were integral to salsa’s development and the island and New York communities have between them produced a roll-call of great salseros. The island’s home-based salsa has a characteristically smooth, sweet sound, with polished arrangements and languorous pace. It is less syncopated and African than the Cuban variety, and danced in a glide rather than in the angular, funky Cuban style. The local scene has been dominated by two great bands for over thirty years: El Gran Combo and La Sonora Ponceña. Their longevity has created an unrivalled cohesion and a repertoire of songs that every islander can recite. Both are driven from the keyboards, El Gran Combo by Rafael Ithier, whose style is florid and bright, and Sonora Ponceña’s four trumpet line-up by the jazz-influenced maestro, Papo Lucca.


For Venezuela, salsa is almost a national music, and in its capital, Caracas, a city in a bowl between mountains, a city where cars never stop, horns puncture the hazy air and salsa explodes from every street corner. Venezuela’s proximity to Brazil has resulted in a strong samba and bossa nova influence, evident in the smooth, sweet, apparently effortless sound of bands like Daiquiri. There are some very long established bands, too, such as Billo y su Caracas Boys and Los Melodicos, both of which seem to get ever better with age, and have proved launching pads for most of the leading singers, like the hugely popular José Luís Rodríguez, aka El Puma.

In global terms, the big name, of course, is Oscar D’Leon, these days to be seen as often in New York or Miami as in his home country. His brand of salsa is in fact rooted in Cuban rather than Venezuelan sounds, and he is heavily influenced by the Cuban swing bands with their horn phrasing and son-rhythm piano solos. His singing, too, which leaps from croon to falsetto, owes much to the Cubans, and, above all, his idol Beny Moré. He maintains a spectacular 19-piece orchestra, a showcase for incredibly tight musicianship, while he dances, sings and duets with his teenage sons, sometimes lugging his trademark white baby-upright bass across stage. This is one of the most exciting shows in salsa today.

感谢Salsa Cubana GZ朋友瓜瓜的翻译(可转载分享,但请注明转自Salsa Cubana GZ及译者瓜瓜|梁斯华)


世界音乐指南:Salsa (萨尔萨舞曲)





Diego,Jaime Galé都是哥伦比亚salsa音乐圈中的重量级人物。他们的乐队Grupo Galé的成员都来自Medellín(哥伦比亚东部的城市)。古巴出生的小提琴手 Alfredo de la Fé也曾跟他们生活在同一个城市好多年。除此之外,还有很多其他乐队聚集在Cali这个以制糖为主要生计的小镇,独立地进行音乐创作和唱片制作。

有些乐队,例如La Sonora Dinamita严格遵照着Cumbia音乐的2/4拍节奏,另一些乐队则爱上了Vallenato音乐。Vallenato最初是一种乡村民族舞蹈,流行于哥伦比亚东北部广阔的大平原乡镇,后来渐渐成为全国人民的真爱。 Lizandro Meza 和Alfredo Gutierrez等手风琴家都是国民偶像,而他们的二代也正让更多的年轻人认识Vallenato Salsa。



到了九十年代,通过古巴乐队在欧洲音乐节和其他巡回演出中的表现,古巴再次开始大大影响salsa音乐的发展。许多美国和波多黎各的艺术家们争相翻唱古巴歌手的作品,而古巴乐队如Los Van Van和Son 14也为迈阿密的Willie Chirino,波多黎各的La Sonora Ponceña和Roberto Roena等歌手创作了不少热门歌曲。




Beatles和Salsa是这个世代的音乐食粮,他们所创造的迈阿密之音还混搭了流行音乐和摇滚乐的丰富元素。Chirino喜欢强劲的打击乐搭配加勒比风情的Salsa音乐基调再配上摇滚激情,而Emilio和Gloria Estefan这两位最成功的美国主流拉丁裔艺术家则在他们的艺术生涯中演绎了大量拉丁和西班牙的音乐。


纽约在Salsa音乐发展过程中占据着中心地位。曼哈顿上城的Washington Heights地区有着百分之八十的多米尼加血统。强劲的Meringue节奏和无处不在的Meren-House音乐在夜店里大放异彩,各路乐队争奇斗艳。九零年代是拉丁爵士乐与salsa音乐在纽约共同互动与成长的年代。自从Mario Bauza和Machito创造了“古巴爵士乐”(Afro-Cuban Jazz)和 Tito Puente执起鼓棒那一刻起,纽约就变成了Salsa音乐世界的首都。

今天的音乐家们大部分都受过古典音乐和Salsa音乐的训练。主流爵士乐受到这些偏爱节奏的新生乐手们的影响也焕发出不同光彩。尤其是钢琴家Hilton Ruiz, Michel Camilo, Chucho Valdes, Gonzalo Rubalcaba和萨克斯管演奏家David Sanchez都擅于把爵士旋律改编成舞曲。古巴著名乐队Irakere的前成员之一Paquito D’Rivera现在也居住在新泽西,时不时在城市的不同角落冒泡。从八零年代起,他的存在便成为城中拉丁爵士音乐活力的源泉。


波多黎各在Salsa音乐的发展史中占据着不可或缺的地位。这个小岛和纽约共同孕育了一帮伟大的Salsa音乐家。在波多黎各岛上,Salsa是标志性的家庭音乐,旋律流畅动人、编排精致、节奏慵懒。它不像古巴Salsa音乐那样切分那么多和受非洲影响那么多,跳起舞不像古巴式的夸张活泼和注意角度方位,而是更顺畅。El Gran Combo和La Sonora Ponceña是当地享誉三十年的常青树乐队。他们的音乐在岛上人人耳熟能详,无人能敌。两个乐队都以键盘为可信,El Gran Combo的键盘手是Rafael Ithier,他的音乐总是华丽而明快。Sonora Ponceña的四支小号则由深受爵士音乐影响的大师Papo Lucca统领。


在委内瑞拉,Salsa音乐的地位是国宝级的。在委内瑞拉的首都,群山环绕、车水马龙的Caracas(加拉加斯),划破尘土飞杨的空气的不仅有气急败坏的汽车喇叭,还有遍布各个角落的Salsa音乐。委内瑞拉毗邻巴西,因此这里的Salsa音乐明显受到Samba和Bossa Nova音乐的影响,Daiquiri等乐队所奏的音乐总是那么柔顺、甜蜜,听起来毫无压力。这里也有许多常青树乐队,例如Billo y su Caracas Boys和Los Melodicos,像美酒一样越老越醇,也成为José Luís Rodríguez, aka El Puma等一流歌手的摇篮。

Oscar D’Leon自然是闻名世界的委内瑞拉Salsa歌手,现在经常在纽约和迈阿密出没,那里几乎成了他另一个家。其实,他的Salsa音乐受古巴的影响更大于委内瑞拉的影响,最明显的是古巴摇摆乐队的演奏风格,号角的乐句和包含son(古巴)音乐节奏的钢琴独奏。他的唱腔也会从小声的哼唱忽然跳到假声,这些都受到了古巴音乐家,尤其是他的偶像Beny Moré的影响。他总是带着一支壮观的十九人的交响乐队,合作天衣无缝。他会在台上又唱又跳,跟他那十几岁的儿子表演二重唱,有时候还会带着他那标志性的白色贝斯(upright bass)在台上演奏。他的演唱是当今最令人兴奋、激动的Salsa音乐表演之一。