There’s a interesting effort on Reddit to list the top 100 salsa songs. As far as I can tell, there’s not rhyme-or-reason for each song; rather, a bunch of people listing their favorite music. But that’s okay. It’s not easy finding good salsa artists and titles. So let’s take a look at some of the music people have submitted.
La Palomilla – Joe Cuba
Oh man, that’s a good one. If you’re not familiar with Joe Cuba, jump over to YouTube and start making a playlist. Many of the recordings sound a bit rough, but once you tune your ear to his music, you’ll be hooked.
El Gran Combo
You’ll see and hear many great salsa songs by El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico. What’s great is that they still play regular live gigs. As with a lot of salsa music, the live experience is much better for listening. For dancing? That can be a bit of an issue; bands tend to play looooong songs. Pretty soon, you’re six minutes into a dance and you and your partner are looking at each other just wanting it to end. This is called a downward spiral and I don’t wish it on anyone.
Ray Barretto – Acid
This is a great song for listening and/or practicing salsa patterns. The tempo is slow and the key rhythms are apparent. I’ve seen many instructors use this song in the classes. The song isn’t really appropriate for a salsa club because it’s just too slow.
Alex Bueno & Zacarias Ferreira
If you’d like to add some Dominican style bachata to your collection, search “Te Amo”, “El Amor Vencera”, and “La Avispa”. Of course, there are many other great numbers from this group as well. I like Dominican style bachata as a nice alternative to getting all hot-and-heavy on the dance floor.
Tite Curet Alonso – Caonabo
With over 2,000 salsa titles, it’s difficult to pick a top song. But Caonabo is a great On2 title.
Groupo Latin Vibe – La Llave
Want to see the top professionals leave it all on the floor in a social dance? Pay attention at your next salsa festival when this song comes on.
There are, of course, so, so many great salsa and bachata songs. If you’re new to the scene, it might take a little while to tune your ear and build a collection. But once you begin to appreciate the nuances of the genre, you’re in for a life long love.
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