While the irresistible sounds of Afro-Latin music have long been a highlight of Putumayo collections, ¡Salsa! focuses on the upbeat, danceable style that has become a worldwide phenomenon. Featured prominently on television’s popular dance contest shows, tens of thousands of dance schools have incorporated salsa classes, thousands of nightclubs now offer salsa nights and scores of international salsa congresses and cruises draw in hundreds of thousands of salsa dancers. As a result, salsa has truly become mainstream.
“Salsa” is Spanish for “sauce” and, when used in a culinary setting, refers to something spicy that adds an extra kick to a dish. By the 1960s, the word “salsa” had become an umbrella phrase for a variety of Latin, primarily Afro-Cuban, music styles. ¡Salsa! features blazing tracks from Colombia, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and New York City, where the modern salsa movement took off in the 1960s and 70s. Salsa has since become the musical heartbeat of much of the Latin world and its reach has spread across the globe.
The CD features Puerto Rican legends of New York’s pioneering salsa scene such as piano virtuoso Eddie Palmieri and singer Cheo Feliciano (guesting with legendary Cuban ensemble Orquesta Aragon). Other mainstays of New York’s Latin music scene are Cuban artists Chico Alvarez and Puerto Rican/New York ensemble Son Boricua.
Poncho Sanchez, a Los Angeles-based Latin jazz star, blends Cuban son with the American jazz and rhythm and blues he also grew up with. ¡Salsa! also features Ricardo Lemvo, a Los Angeles-based Congolese musician whose appealing blend of African soukouss and salsa has graced several Putumayo collections over the years. Another rising Latin musician featured on this collection is Cuban-American Jose Conde.
For nearly 40 years, the popular Colombian group Fruko y Sus Tesos has retained a firm foothold in the upper echelons of the international salsa scene. Grupo Galé is another Colombian group known for their catchy, danceable songs.
Putumayo has traveled the Latin world seeking some of the best tracks by many of the legends and rising stars of salsa. With the release of ¡Salsa! the Putumayo slogan “Guaranteed to Make You Feel Good” has never been more accurate!
A portion of Putumayo’s proceeds from the sale of the CD will be donated to the Pan American Health and Education Foundation (PAHEF) in support of its efforts to improve health care services in Latin America and the Caribbean.