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Salsa music

Salsa music is a rich and predominantly Caribbean rhythm that is popular in many Latino countries.

Salsa's roots can be traced back to the African ancestors that were brought to the Caribbean by the Spanish as slaves. In Africa, it is very common to find people playing music with instruments like la conga[?] and la pandereta[?], instruments commonly used in Salsa, thus creating a sound similar to that of Salsa. Salsa most direct antecedent is Cuban son[?], which itself is a combination of African and European influences.

Salsa's growth, however, is said to have begun in the streets of New York in the late 1960s. The influence of Latino immigrants, in particular Cubans and Puerto Ricans, to the 'Big Apple' (or Nueva York as people know the city in Spanish), and the need of these people to feel closer to home, brought about the growth of this music genre among Latinos[?]. The New-York based recording company, Fania Records, introduced many of first-generation salsa singers and muscians to the world.

From New York, Salsa quickly expanded to Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, and other latin countries. Singers such as Tito Puente and Celia Cruz became household names, not only in North American Latino homes but all over the Caribbean. Later, groups like El Gran Combo[?] and The Apollo All Stars[?] with Roberto Rohena[?] among others, followed suit.

Salsa has registered a steady growth and now dominates the airwaves in many countries in Latin America. In additin, several latino artists, notably Marc Anthony[?], and most famously, the Cuban-American singer Gloria Estefan, have had success as crossovers, penetrating the Anglo-American pop market with latin-tinged hits, usually sung in English.

One singer worth mentioning was Hector Lavoe[?], a very popular singer during the 1970s who came out of the Fania stable. With his light, agile tenor voice, his feel for rhythym and phrasing, Lavoe is regarded by many salsa aficionados as the finest salsa singer to date. Lavoe committed suicide in 1989, destroyed by personal and health problems. Another singer who enjoyed considerable success; this one during the 1980s; singing Salsa, was Eddie Santiago.

Another legendary performer is Panama's Ruben Blades[?], who was able to turn his Salsa success into Hollywood success, with movies like The Last Fight[?] (where he starred with another Salsa legend, Willie Colon[?], and with boxer Salvador Sanchez), The Principal[?] and The Milagro Beanfield War[?].

Salsa during the 1980s also expanded to Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Europe and Japan, where (Japan) it was popularized by the famous Orquesta Del Sol[?]. Orquesta del Sol, or Orquestra of the Sun, became famous in many Latin American countries also. Salsa keeps its steady growth throughout all these countries.

In the Dominican Republic, another very danceable rhythm that is similar to Salsa, the Merengue, was created, with singers and groups such as Conjunto Quisqueya[?], Puerto Rico's Ashley[?] and The Freddie Kenton Orquestra[?] popularizing the sound. Singer-songwriter Juan Luis Guerra[?] is the most famous exponent of merengue in the world today.

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