In our quest to fill our ears with the Spanish music of the world it would be foolish to ignore dance music as it is such an integral part of many Latin cultures. (and the Caribbean, they kind of mix, see if you can hear all 10 different dances in this song.) Most people know these dances from an early age as they are taught them at family gatherings and such, and the music of them can be heard everywhere from the afternoon radio on busetas to lively nightclubs. Unfortunately this means I really stand out when Manu makes me dance merengue or something with her, I just am no good with my hips!* Salsa I can bumble through alright at least. Anyway, on to the music!
Speaking of salsa, lets start with the best-selling song of all time: Pedro Navajas by Rueben Blades. As you can see in this video, the song tells the story of a man, with one gold tooth, who goes and stabs a woman but is then shot by her. Both dead, a drunk comes by and takes both of their money, the moral of the story being “life surprises you.” (lyrics with translation) All salsa songs tell a story, although not always so morbid. Salsa originated in Cuba, but currently Cali, Colombia is referred to as the Salsa Capital. There are many regional variations of salsa thought, so if you are interested I suggest looking at further videos.
Next we have merengue, which is from Dominican Republic. This dance is much simpler than salsa, all it really requires is alternating bending each knee and keeping your upper body still. However to do that and not look awkward you need to move your hips. bah. Anyway, this song is actually ‘merenrap,’ but I think you could dance to it fine. El Tiburon (The Shark) by Proyecto Uno is about going to the club and meeting girls, but having another guy-the shark- take them away from you, surprise! The best part is really “no pares, SIGUE SIGUE” which means, “don’t stop, keep going keep going!” (sounds clunky in English. Seguir is the very “to continue”) Proyecto Uno formed in New York, hence the assorted English chunks.
Snaps, I have to go to class, and I don’t actually know the names of other good dance songs, so that will have to be all for now. As a coworker of mine used to say, “boogie!”
*I blame this on the notion in the states that men do not have hips, but my gender dysphoria is not up for discussion here.