Want to get into salsa music, but don’t know where to start? Not to worry– we sat down with veteran salsa DJ Felipe Martinez, aka DJ EldelaClave, and asked for his top picks. Born in Colombia and raised on the sounds of cumbia, cha cha, and salsa, DJ EldelaClave is one of the most popular salsa DJs in the Bay.
Here is what Felipe has to say about his picks:
“There’s so much great salsa music out there, it’s really hard to pick just 10. So don’t think of this list as a top 10, think of it as a little peek into my world. These are some of the songs that have been on my playlist lately, and feature a good mix of rhythms and a blend of different sounds.”
- La Noche Mas Linda Del Mundo
This is a salsa song with gorgeous lyrics. The title of the song means “The most beautiful night in the world”, and tells the story of a couple who meet and fall in love, but only for one night. It’s a great example of romantic salsa.
- Montuno Street
Manny & Ray Martinez
This is a fantastic song by the brothers Manny and Ray Martinez, who are Bay Area natives. The song is half in English and half in Spanish, so you don’t need to speak Spanish to appreciate it. It’s a beautiful song, and very well done.
- Yo No Consigo Tu Amor
This a nice chachacha that mixes in a boogaloo section, with creative beautiful piano riffs. This is a relatively long song, but enjoyable throughout.
- Bei Mir Bist du Schön
Cal Tjader Quintet
This is another great salsa song from the Bay Area. This one is by the Carl Tjader, a traditional Jazz musician who branched out into mambo and Latin Jazz. This song is light and playful, and is fun to listen and dance to.
- Lejos De Ti
Angel Canales has a very underrated but unique voice, and this song really showcases it. The infectious rhythms of this song make it incredible to dance to, and the lyrics, which sing about how hard it is to be away from the ones you love, especially rings true for Latinos and immigrants who left their families behind to come to the US.
- La Noticia
Album: Salsa Dura
The powerful thing about this song is the story behind it. The song was written by Jimmy Bosch when he was touring in Colombia, and he found out that his younger brother had died. The song tells the story of him learning of the news, and dealing with the grief of his brother’s passing.
El Gran Combo
Album: No Es De Pena
This is a fun little song, notable for being sung by Papo Rosario, who is not one of the main singers of El Gran Combo. The song is about little black Puerto Rican kids (carboneritos) and Papo’s love for his wife.
This is a great song with strong Dominican influences. It’s also the from the first solo album of Alci Sanchez, who made a name for himself singing with Billo’s Caracas Boys.
- Tremendo Guaguanco
Super Combo Los Diamantes
This song is historic in many ways because it is the first recording of Joe Arroyo, when he was just 15 years old. Arroyo of course later went onto join Fruko y sus Tesos at age 16, and grew to be one of the most popular salsa singers of his time, recognized for his vibrant voice and mischievousness.
A great song by Andy Montañez, a former singer for El Gran Combo. This song features a great mix of flamenco guitar and Afro-Caribbean rhythms.
To find out more about DJ EldelaClave, check out his webpage.