When you’ve gone out salsa dancing in Miami a few times, the music might start to sound familiar. The music that you’ll hear at salsa bars in Miami reflects both Miami-based salsa groups and internationally-renowned talent.
El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico is one of the longest-running salsa bands in history, and is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a world tour. The orchestra is led by Rafael Ithier, one of the founding members of the group. El Gran Combo prides itself on producing music that is rooted in early Puerto Rican popular music, while also accepting modern musical influences. Among the band’s most recognizable hits are “Brujeria” and “Me Liberé.” The orchestra recently released the danceable and incredibly relatable album entitled En Cuarentena (meaning “In Quarantine”).
Gilberto Santa Rosa, known as “El Caballero de la Salsa” (The Gentleman of Salsa) has been active as a vocalist since the 1970s. He is renowned internationally for his smooth, melodic vocals in romantic salsa songs, which are typically played at a slow tempo. Among his two most popular hits are the energetic “La Agarro Bajando” and the soothing “Conteo Regresivo” about a relationship that has run its course.
Hailing from the birthplace of salsa, Marc Anthony is the most commercially successful salsa artist and is widely-admired for his supreme vocal talent. He rose to prominence in the 1990s and his music style has gradually shifted from emotional salsa ballads (in his album Valió La Pena) to faster-tempo salsa songs that are irresistible for most dancers. Among his latest hits you’ll hear on the Miami dance floor are: Mala, Parecen Viernes, and Pa’Alla Voy.
Compared to salsa music, timba stands out for having explosive energy, lots of improvisation, occasional rapping and a prominent rhythm section (piano, drums, etc.) that demands you to move your whole body. Timba is especially popular among Cuban-style salsa dancers. Miami-based band Timbalive is a favorite among local DJs and they perform live at local venues, such as CubaOcho. Two of their most popular hits are the slower-paced Duplicandote la Dosis and their crowd-engaging hit El Dinero which repeats (in Spanish): “Hands up if you like money!”
Nic & N’Taya emerged in 2018 and has been surging in local popularity ever since. You can catch Nic & N’Taya at local latin music festivals and at popular dance venues such as La Mesa. Check out their recent releases Popurri Repartero and Bajanda Changüí.