Songs You Never Knew
You Could Salsa To!
If I asked you ‘what style of music can you dance salsa to?’ I imagine you would answer ‘salsa music’ right? But what if I told you that there were a lot more options than that. This blog explores the multiple styles and genres of music that can flex and bend themsleves to be all different kinds of salsas.
Now I know the ‘salsa purists’ out there wont agree but salsa dancing is all about having fun and dancing to music you love so here we go!
Let’s start at the start…
Traditional ‘Salsa’ Music
Traditional ‘salsa’ music generally contains lyrics that are primarily or entirely in spanish. It has a ‘busy’ sound. What do I mean by ‘busy’? There are lots of instruments sounding at the same time, overlapping and interchanging with each other.
For example ‘Julianna’, in the video above, is a ‘busy sound’ whilst ‘Mustang Sally’ By the Commitments (see below) is a fairly simple/clean song with very few instruments.
Mustang Sally is not a salsa, it’s a rumba, but you get what I mean 🙂
Let’s have a look at…
Slow, Romantic Salsas…
Winston and I made this video to demonstrate what a salsa might look like if a couple wanted to learn it for their wedding dance or ‘First Dance’. Now they may choose to dance their salsa to a traditional, fast salsa and that’s great but generally couples still want to dance to a romantic love song. So here’s the best of both worlds! If you’re still looking for that special song you can find many more suggestions in our list.
You can hear in this song (You give Me Something by James Morrison) that there is an emphasis on the ‘3’ and the ‘7’. If you tap to the music, counting in rounds of 8 (1-8 then start again) you may be able to pick it.
Why does this particular timing signature suit salsa?
When we dance salsa there is a hold on the ‘4’ count and the ‘8’ count. Therfore when you dance the Basic Salsa pattern of 1,2,3 and the emphasis is on the ‘3’ at the time that you start your pause it looks good. We humans like to see bodies moving in time with the sounds we can hear. It matches nicely and makes us feel good.
Another good example of this timing siganture can be found in the song I Try by Macy Gray.
Let’s now try some…
Aussie Hip Hop
Nothing like a bit of Hilltop Hoods to salsa to! (home grown South Australian talent is always best!)
Other aussie hip hop songs you can salsa to include;
Are you a bit of a hippy deep down? Then let’s salsa to some…
When dancing salsa to reggae/blues/roots you will be slowling it right down and removing any sharpness you may have had when dancing to traditional salsa. It’s smooth, slow, and can invite more body movement into the dance.
Here are some more reggae/blues/roots type tunes to try at home
What about some…
Here Winston and I are dancing to It Girl by Jason Derulo but the pop and rnb songs you can salsa to don’t end there. Remember to listen for that emphasis on the ‘3’ and the ‘7’ and you’re good to go! Some fast some slow and some right in between.