By Nathan Chan
Salsa Cuban and Puerto Rican many newbies to get close to the afro-Caribbean sounds more properly, are wondering what the differences are between the Cuban and Puerto Rican Music.
The answer to this question is not easy, as you have to first understand if we are referring to Cuban music of the past or to the modern. Today, in fact it tends to identify Cuban music with timba, completely ignoring its root sonera or Rumba's movements.
Which causes of paradoxical situations with dee jay posing old classics of Cuban music and dancers have enraged ranging in console to ask "When is that we put some Cuban music?".
But what is most ironic is that while the Cuban band seem more interested in proposing innovative combinations of sound, Puerto Rican ones tend to retain their identity referring more to their glorious tradition guarachera.
As a result, while the Van Van of today are very different from those that have begun to play in the ' 70, the Gran Combo de Puerto Rico has always stayed true to themselves, oblivious to fashion.
Many, for example, when Puerto Rican music associate with blatantly wrong salsa romantica. Actually this is just one of many souls of Puerto Rico.
To be clear: Roberto Roena and Jerry Rivera are both Puerto Ricans but they make a completely different music. It would be like comparing our Vasco Rossi to Pupo, just because both of them Italians!!! …
Roberto Roena: "Con los pobres estoy" (Puerto Rico)
Jerry Rivera: "Casi un hechizo" (Puerto Rico)
In my opinion one of the big differences between salsa and timba is the introduction on a permanent basis in Cuban orchestras of the battery. The battery, actually, in the past had been used by some groups of sauce (especially in New York) but is a way to use a battery that is completely different.
In timba drummer performs a real rhythm pattern that will fit with the typical del son, creating a totally new sound carpet that brings this music to typical rock and funky sound (just compare a song like "Esto te pone la cabeza mala" by Los Van Van with a classic Cuban son "Hay fuego en el 23" Sonora Poncena salsera from Puerto Rican twist, redone).
Los Van Van: "Esto te pone la cabeza mala" (Cuba)
La Sonora Poncena. "Fuego en el 23" (Puerto Rico)
NG La Banda: "Santa palabra" (Cuba)
El Gran Combo: "Y no hago mas na '" (Puerto Rico)
Los Van Van: "Chapeando" (Cuba)
Bobby Valentin: "Agua" (Puerto Rico)
Another big difference is that in timba, thanks to the introduction of the battery, the seasons are always well marked, while the son as in salsa percussion emphasize more the mishap.
Timba has also revolutionized the traditional structure of the sauce. From the old rhythmic pattern of son montuno (also picked up by salsa), we reach a "montuno Infinity" that responds to the love for improvisation both by the dancers of Cuban musicians.
But it is the same Formell. leader of Los Van Van to give us, in an interview with the magazine "Cuban Salsa"
the definition of timba
"There's nothing official on what the timba is tacit, underground. Apparently you are not organized a movement, there is an inventor who patented it, nobody did, as has happened in the past with the son or the rumba. It is a popular, natural, spontaneous movement. There is a timba, at least among ourselves we call it so. Los Van Van songo and timba and defend as we say in the song "Te pone la cabeza mala" are we looking for in our music mix: "Timba with rumba y rock" …
At the beginning we accepted the term salsa for a market strategy. We did it at a time when we were still on the defensive and still not we assisted the great popularity of Cuban music. But right now we're on the offensive, cutting edge, in one of the best stages of Cuban music. We used the word timba for different shape where you play and you can dance to our music and dance is what determines the rhythm. Every genre has its own dance. The sauce has to do with the casino dance, timba instead is something else. This is not the traditional son, nor Latin, salsa is something very rumbeado that has to do with the percussive, aggressive rhythm of Afro-Cuban genre …. "
It is interesting to note, as at this time in Puerto Rico, we are witnessing a true rebirth of salsa. In Cuba, by contrast, timba divides its popularity by reggaetton (kind, paradoxically, of Puerto Rican descent).
The reggaetton has, meanwhile, led to the emergence of two musical hybrids: salsaton (in Puerto Rico) and timbaton (in Cuba). But while in Puerto Rico the salsaton hasn't had much success, in Cuba the timbaton seems to have conquered the new generations.
To conclude this brief as partial analysis, we compare now some songs, fairly recent, just to highlight the different directions in which the Puerto Rican and Cuban music are going:
Orquesta Revé: "Agua pa Yemaya" (Cuba)
El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico: "Sin Sauce no hay Paraiso" (Puerto Rico)
Charanga Habanera "Gozando en la Habana" (Cuba)
Juan Pablo Diaz: "Las calles de mi ciudad" (Puerto Rico)
Differences between Cuban and Puerto Rican salsa music
By Nathan Chan