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Salsa is still alive on its 60th birthday

New York– Salsa, which seems to be losing ground among generations of young Latinos to reggaeton, It still has plenty of loyal fans around the world, who just got together over the weekend in New York to dance non-stop and pay tribute to the genre.

Born among the Latin community in New York in the sixties of the last century, salsa, which is the result of blending various Caribbean rhythms, made the world dance in Spanish and had its great boom in the 1970s with the help of the stars of the Fania All Starsthe “Latin Rolling Stones” as the well-known Puerto Rican producer and musicologist Richie Viera called them.

Six decades later, this unequivocally Latin and festive style continues to gather passionate followers, in places as far away as Japan, Germany, Norway, Austria or Canada, among many other countries, and coexists in a market with other Latin genres such as reggaeton, which today It is the most popular among the youth thanks to its catchy rhythms and its irreverent and sexist lyrics.


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

“When I hear salsa, there is nothing else, and I am not Latin,” says Tastasa, 24, one of the 7,000 people who danced non-stop to the rhythmic rhythm this weekend at the World Congress of Salsa. Sauce, which ended yesterday.

Like Tastasa, the dancer and artistic director of the event, Edwin Rivera, does not consider that salsa is losing ground and remembers that this music saved his life when “I got lost in the streets” of the city “and my mother He gave me the choice between taking salsa classes or a military academy.”

“Salsa is like gold, it never dies, it will always be there, it will always have an audience, what happens is that it does not have the commercial look” that reggaeton has, which was born in the 90s as an underground movement, he pointed.


With millions of followers on social networks, its main means of dissemination, record attendance at concerts and winning awards, as happened with the recent MTV shows where Puerto Rican Bad Bunny was the first Latino to win artist of the year, reggaeton has become in a global phenomenon that focuses attention on the music industry.

Rivera believes that for salsa to attract more attention among young people today, salsa musicians should seek greater collaboration with reggaeton artists and even with Anglo artists, as happened with bachata when Romeo Santos recorded with Usher in that genre, each one singing in their language.

“Salsa is an immortal genre and can be mixed with any other genre as it has already been done”, without losing its essence, it opened doors for all Latin exponents, and there are many groups and singers like Mark Anthony that continue to carry it around the world, in addition to radio stations dedicated exclusively to promoting it, particularly in Puerto Rico, Viera noted.

Regarding reggaeton, he recalls that he prevailed against all odds after finding his formula for success, recording with important artists such as Enrique Iglesias and investing large sums of money on platforms and social networks to maintain contact with his young followers, which other genres do not do.

The also Spanish musicologist Sami Otazu points out that reggaeton is a commercial music “aimed at the masses, sales and superficiality”, a style that works, while salsa “is more authentic, purer, musically more complex”.

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

He also highlights that salsa is “very much alive” and that there are many people who maintain it and fight to maintain it “and that will make it last a long time thanks to the fact that it is a traditional music with a folkloric identity”.

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