I made a mixtape for my little Colombino so that when he's old enough to go dancing he'll already know the songs by heart. Here's five songs to start you off if you wish to do the same! -Emily
1. Rebelión (No le pega la negra) – Joe Arroyo: In my opinion this is the BEST salsa song, not the best Colombian salsa song. The best song hands down. When people hear that iconic piano downbeat they grab a partner and hit the floor in hordes. The lyrics tell the story of a Slave Rebellion and the song starts off with these famous lines "I want to tell you my brother a little piece of black history, of our history, gentleman. And it goes like this..."
Oh my goodness, I get excited just typing out the lyrics!
3) Pantera Mambo - La 33: This Bogota-based band makes amazing modern music. This particular song samples the Pink Panther which is absolute music genius. I promise you will love it!
4) Ven a Medellin-Grupo Gale: Grupo Gale and it's sister group Sonora Carruseles are both from Medellin and in my opinion that best dance bands out right now. This song is a beautiful and heartfelt tribute to their hometown of Medellin, but really all of their songs are amazing. In some versions of the song, they improv and throw in a few bars of "America" from West Side Story. I love it when music is humorous and references other influences.
Another Grupo Gale favorite of mine is "No la descuides" The video has people dancing salsa and is good example of the "Cumbia-style" Salsa that is danced in Colombia, although they are dressed in traditional Cumbia costumes which is not what you would normally wear out dancing. Take your tight pants, not your long skirts ;)
5) Micaela - Sonora Carruseles: Like I said above Sonora Carruseles and Grupo Gale are two of the best dance bands out there. They tour a lot outside of Colombia and I really encourage you to go see them if you can. I saw them in San Francisco and they are just phenomenally tight, the timabaleros hands are flying so fast you can't even see them. I picked Micaela because it is Elian (my son the dance dictator's) favorite song but they have so many it's impossible to choose. Dancers love all their songs including: Ave Maria Lola, Arranca en Fa, Al son de los Cueros and Boogaloo.