Want (to) salsa?

More and more people love it. They are addicted to it. They cannot get enough of it. Where does it come from? What are its influences? And most importantly, why is it called salsa?

The origin of salsa dancing is very controversial. Some say that its roots are in Africa, from a time when slaves were brought to the New Found Land. On board, they kept their spirits up by playing the drums and singing. Others say that it originated from the Caribbean as a mix of various Latin music styles.

But the most popular theory is that if salsa had a passport it would state the 60’s as the date of birth and The Big Apple as the place of birth. Thanks to the flood of immigrants from Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and all over Latin America, different styles and rhythms merged to give birth to the sound that is today called salsa.

Additional flavor

The main question for us linguists is still unanswered: why is it called salsa? To answer this, we have to take a shortcut through the kitchen. Salsa means sauce. It is spicy and adds flavor to a dish. Legend has it that DJs shouted SALSA! when playing an upbeat, energetic song to pump up the dancefloor… and the term salsa was born.

Get up and dance!

If you’ve read this to the end… well, thank you very much, I appreciate it. But now it’s time to stand up from that chair, get out of the office and join other salseros for a Rueda de Casino!

Titelbild via Flickr: Salsas picantes – Hernán García Crespo (CC BY 2.0)

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