Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Salsa Dance and Music

Friday, March 13th, 2009

Salsa Dancers

Salsa Dancers


SALSA-what comes to your mind when you hear the word? A captivating rhythm, dancers with swift, sensuous movements to match the flow of the music, and the vibrant colors of the Caribbean; the sights and sounds of the rich Latin American world!

In the Spanish language Salsa is a spicy sauce but actually it means a “mixture of ingredients”, which helps explain the diverse components that comprise the music and dance we call Salsa. And then there is the vernacular understanding of the root of the word Salsa, which says, “a word with no precise meaning but with vivid associations”.


The definitive origin of Salsa music is still open to debate. Max Salazar, the Latin music historian, traced it back to the 1930s, when it was defined as a ‘danceable Latin music’. Salazar explained that it was a blend of multiple styles with its closest relatives being Cuban mambo, Son orchestras of the early 20th century and of course Latin Jazz.

Even today Salsa is the most played music in Latin dance clubs, and considered the most popular dance music in Latin communities. The particular style of Salsa that is most popular today is called salsa romantica; a sexy form of couples dancing music with a sensuous beat and very few or repetitive lyrics.


It’s difficult to define Salsa dance and its origins, but to give it a try; it can be described as a tree with many roots (i.e. origins) and many branches that are the styles evolved over many centuries of time.

People have the misconception that Salsa is Cuban or Puerto Rican. While it is not primarily Latin, it is a form of a French and English country dance that has been infused by Latinos with first the African Rhumba, then later with, Son, a mixture of Spanish Sonero and African drumbeats. Thus, when Latinos poured African elements into the amalgamated blending of music and sound, they created the exotic mix known as Salsa. Technically Salsa is a mix; a distillation of many African, Caribbean and Latin .fundamental elements.


How has Salsa come to have its present face? Bands of musicians from various countries like the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Cuba and others with various styles of music, brought their music to Mexico City and New York. Once reaching these big cities, they various styles were promoted and synchronized and thus the mainstream, modern day Salsa was created.

Today’s Salsa contains many of the mixed elements of Son, Cumbia, Guaracha, and old Merengue; old styles with modernized beats that have morphed with its dancers revealing primary elements with various twists and personalization.


Broadly considered as a partner dance, Salsa has also recognized solo forms, line dancing called Suelta, and group dancing Rueda de Casino-in which partners are exchanged. The dance has mostly side to side movements, performed with a set pattern or improvised. The majority of current Salsa steps come from the Son, but the Mambo, Cha Cha Cha, Guaracha, Changui, Palo Monte, Rumba, Abakua Comparsan and even Mozambique influences are clearly visible.

The history of Salsa is full of contradiction. It has been reincarnated many times over the years, enjoying world wide recognition and popularity. It’s considered the most dynamic musical phenomena. Today Salsa is a dance oriented genre of music with Salsa music players claiming it as emotionally and culturally genuine since it reflects and projects elements of the vibrant Latin culture.

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Baby Boomers FYI: Music Of The Next Generation

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

What Your Grandchildren Are Listening To
teenagers and music


Each year, new music sensations come onto the scene and attempt to leave a lasting impression with the music industry. I’m sure you have listened to and seen your fair share of them as a young Baby Boomer. Today, your grandchildren have a wide variety of music genres available at the click of a mouse with each having its own loyal followers. To be considered a hip grandparent, it is essential that you have some knowledgeable about the music that makes up the soundtrack of your grandchildren’s iPods.

Music Obsessed Generation

The creation of hi-tech music players such as iPods and MP3 players has caused a generational obsession by music lovers because of the opportunity to personalize and privatize their music selection even more. The genres that are popular, mainly because they are highlighted in the media include Pop, Rap / Hip-Hop, R&B, and Rock & Roll. Each genre contains artistes and songs that even your 8 year old grandchild may know.

What Are They?

For those Boomers who are not familiar with these genres, it can be confusing trying to figure out which song and artiste fits under which category. Here is a little cheat sheet that may come in handy:

Pop - The earliest use of the term “pop music” was used to describe music that had popular appeal. The term is now used to describe a type of music; one that is upbeat and rhythmic, appealing to mainstream with catchy hooks that may come from a group as well as a solo artist. Many pop singers have come and gone. Some that are popular today include Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and the boy band, Take 5.

Rhythm & Blues - Also known as R&B, this genre was originally created by African-Americans who combined blues and jazz. It opened the doors to many other types of music and the title has been used by many in the past. Today it can be considered a modern version of soul, and songs usually focus on loving that special someone. Some popular artists include John Legend, Usher, and Mariah Carey.

Rap / Hip-Hop – Rap or Hip Hop originated in the 70’s in the Bronx, NY. It gained popularity predominantly among African-Americans and Latino-Americans. However, today Rap and Hip-Hop are embraced by all cultures worldwide. Rappers can be described as fast talk poets because their lyrics usually flow smoothly and rhyme. The reputation of rap music has gotten marred by the degrading and violent lyrics that have become the norm nowadays, and many songs are not for the ears of an adult let alone your young grandchild’s. However, there are the few who stay true to its roots. Some popular rappers include Lil Wayne, Eminem, Young Joc and Jay-Z.

Rock – Rock music originates from the Rock and Roll of the late 40’s. This music is known for its loud guitars, drums, and singing. There is a couple of traditional rock and roll bands from the 60’s and 70’s still making music, and the younger crowd has embraced them as well. Contemporary Rock music today is still loud and head banging, some a lot more than others. Their topics range from love to everyday actions and there are many bands to choose from. Some popular rock bands include Fall Out Boy, The White Stripes, The Killers, and Audioslave.

There are many more genres that your grandchild may be tapped into, so ask them about it. Start a casual conversation and you may open a channel of communication that you never thought you would reach with them. You may be surprised; you might, also, like what you hear!

What do you think about venturing into your grandchildren’s music world? Tell us at BoomerYearbook is a social networking site connecting the Baby Boomer generation. Share your thoughts, rediscover old friends, or expand your mind with brain games provided by clinical psychologist, Dr. Karen Turner. Join today to discover the many ways we are helping Boomers connect for fun and profit.

Rock and Roll: Boomer Babies

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Rock and Roll: Boomer Babies

Rock and Roll: Boomer Babies


Gen X and Gen Y switch on their iPods and listen to their latest downloads. In the baby boomer period, transistor radios were the ‘iPods’ when almost everyone predictably listened to The Beatles and The Motown Sound. The music and entertainment landscape of the yesteryears are not only about these two singing sensations, as the boomer music industry culminated in the rise of Elvis Presley when ‘Rock and Roll’ was the beat boomers listened to.

It was in 1956 when Presley began to gather the attention of Americans, particularly teenagers. Presley never failed in attracting a crowd that would usually end up in a state of frenzy. When the icon moved into the top charts, over and over again, other performers saw him as an unmatched rival and many of them faded out of the spotlight. His performance often resulted in riots. For instance, it took one hundred National Guardsmen to prevent crowd trouble during his two concerts in 1956.

The cultural impact of Elvis Presley was not only limited to the teenagers of the boomer period. Many American adults regarded Presley as the “first rock symbol of teenage rebellion” and heavily criticized the icon, particularly in mainstream media. The New York Daily News, for instance, asserted that Presley made popular music reach “its lowest depths in the ‘grunt and groin antics’” that he uses. Even the Jesuits condemned Presley in the weekly magazine, America.

Equally popular to Presley in the entertainment world was Frank Sinatra but like many others, Sinatra did not have a positive review of Presley’s music when he said: “His kind of music is deplorable, a rancid smelling aphrodisiac. It fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people.”

Beyond show business, the FBI files revealed that they had the impression of Presley as a “definite danger to the security of the United States.” Psychologists joined in the debate over Presley’s music and antics and pressed on the possibility of having young Americans “aroused to sexual indulgence and perversion by certain types of motions and hysteria—the type that was exhibited at the Presley show.” Amid all the disconcerting accusations, Presley contested that there is nothing vulgar or immoral in the way he performs on stage.

Despite all of the allegations especially on a supposed racist remark that Presley made, the rock symbol continued to dominate America’s music industry throughout the late 1950s. The boomers of today may have listened to the new generation of performers but they cannot stop carrying the past that was Presley. Many of them still play Presley in the present times.

Have a personal Elvis memory? Continue your trip down memory lane at is a social networking site connecting the Baby Boomer generation. Share your thoughts, rediscover old friends, or expand your mind with brain games provided by clinical psychologist Dr. Karen Turner. Join today to discover the many ways we are helping Boomers connect for fun and profit.