Salsa is more than a musical genre
Salsa is only viewed as a musical genre of Latin American origin that relates to Spain in the wrong way for many people, but it is much more than this. In the same way, we can talk about salsa as a set of Caribbean rhythms and styles amongst which we can find mambo, rumba, guaracha, among others. Nowadays, both definitions are now known to encompass everything salsa means in terms of culture in the Latin world.
Well, turns out salsa went far beyond serving as a type of music to become a cultural and even political phenomenon that played a very important role at momentous points in public life in many Latin countries.
How salsa social movement began
As soon as the Cuban Revolution was concrete, the island was gradually isolating itself from the rest of the world in many of the areas of life, especially the artsy one. This resulted in that many local artists were forced to leave their country and relocate to New York, United States. It was there that all these exponents of the aforementioned genre began to work in innovative ways and give new life to this music, thus leading to a number of changes that would transform salsa forever.
One of the most important changes was the fact that music was no longer confined to smart ball-rooms. Now it does too in the corners where you can see the misery in which a significant percentage of the population lives. At these times, the aim was not only to achieve the greatest number of attendees possible, but to achieve those who needed to feel connected to these rhythms.
That audience was composed of Latino neighborhood residents, who were desperate to find any artistic expression capable of reflecting their everyday problems. In this sense, salsa has become a powerful tool of protest against the very poor economic, political and social situation for which Latinos were going through. One of its greatest exponents has been Ruben Blades with songs such as Prohibido Olvidar, Pueblo Latino, and Tiburon. These musical themes are an open critic to governments of all ideological tendencies reneged on promises to the people.
Salsa culture and salsa as part of Latin American identity
When we analyze thoroughly the origins of salsa and the most famous artists of this genre, it is not difficult to understand why it has been so successful in the greater share of Latin America. These artistic expressions of this type are the ones that can put into words the feelings experienced by those who wish to create an identity and bring about solid political thoughts. We mention the word identity because it refers to the way we perceive ourselves and we see our traditions and the story behind us.
A large part of the story is related by salsa, which has become a popular life expression as an unambigous reflection of the typical traditions and customs of the Caribbean countries. In the same way, this genre lets us view the experiences, happiness and sadness of those who identify with its lyrics.
Salsa is a clear demonstration that arts are not always disconnected from the feelings of the majority but, on the contrary, it can be a true reflection of what people dream, think and feel from each chapter of history.