Salsa turns 60 and supports followers against reggaeton

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

New York, September 21 (EFE) — Salsa is turning 60, and while she seems to be losing ground among generations of young Latinos in favor of reggaeton, she still has a loyal following around the world.

Born among the Hispanic community in New York in the 1960s, salsa, which is the result of a mixture of various Caribbean rhythms, made the world dance in Spanish and achieved its big boom in the 1970s with the help of the Fania All Stars, “Latin American Rolling Stones”, as they were called by the famous Puerto Rican producer and musicologist Richie Viera.

Dancers at the Salsa Congress in Manhattan, New York (USA). EFE/Angel Colmenares

Now that salsa is 60 years old, this distinctly Latin and celebratory style continues to attract passionate fans in countries as far away as Japan, Germany, Norway, Austria or Canada, as well as in many other countries, and coexists in the market with other Latin genres. such as reggaeton, which is most popular among young people today for its catchy rhythms and brash and sexist lyrics.

Salsa, which is 60 years old, has its own “World Congress”.

“For dancers, dancing salsa in New York is a dream come true,” says Laila Tastasa, an Israeli who travels to conventions around the world to follow her passion for salsa, which also led her to learn Spanish.

“When I hear salsa, there’s nothing else and I’m not Latino,” says Tastasa, 24, one of the 7,000 people who danced nonstop to the beat at the World Salsa Congress in New York.

Like Tastasa, dancer and artistic director of the event, Edwin Rivera, doesn’t think that salsa is losing ground and remembers that this music saved his life when “I got lost on the streets of the ‘city’ and my mother gave me the choice between salsa classes or a military academy.

“Salsa is like gold, it will never die, it will always be there, it will always have an audience, but the thing is, it doesn’t have a commercial look,” like reggaeton, which began as an underground movement in the 90s, he pointed out.

Rise of reggaeton

With millions of social media followers, a primary medium of distribution, record concert attendance and award-winning performances, as happened with the recent MTV show where Puerto Rican Bad Bunny became the first Hispanic to win Artist of the Year, reggaeton has become a global phenomenon focusing on music industry.

Dancers at the Salsa Congress in Manhattan, New York (USA). EFE/Angel Colmenares

Rivera believes that in order for salsa to attract more attention among young people today, salsa musicians should strive to work more closely with reggaeton and even English-speaking artists, as happened with bachata when Romeo Santos recorded with Usher in this genre, each of which sings in their own language.

“Salsa is 60 years old as an immortal genre and can be mixed with any other genre, as it has already been done”, without losing its essence, it has opened the doors to all Latin representatives, and there are many bands and singers such as Marc Anthony, that follow by distributing it around the world, in addition to radio stations dedicated exclusively to promoting it, especially in Puerto Rico, Viera noted.

As for reggaeton, he recalls overcoming all obstacles after finding his formula for success, recording with established artists such as Enrique Iglesias and investing large sums of money on platforms and social media to keep in touch with his young followers, which other genres don’t. do.

Also Spanish musicologist Sami Otazu notes that reggaeton is commercial music “aimed at the masses, sales and superficiality”, a style that works, while salsa is “more authentic, cleaner, musically more complex”.

“Salsa still has a great future, and although it is music that does not reach a mass audience, it is very strong in the world and excites many people, both at the level of dance groups and musical groups and singers,” he said.

He also stresses that salsa, which is 60 years old, is “quite alive” and that there are many people who support it and fight to keep it alive, “and this will allow it to survive for a long time due to the fact that it is a traditional tradition.” music with a folklore identity”.

Web Editing: Rocio Casas

Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org

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