Willie Colon





:: Faces of Salsa – Smithsonian Books


   Music with a Message… Willie Colon


Salsa is like a newspaper…a chronicle of our lives in the big city, and that’s why it talks about topics like crime, drugs, prostitution, pain, uprootedness, and even about our history of exploitation and underdevelopment. We no longer talk about cutting sugarcane or the life of the campesino – although that’s still possible…rather the social problems of Latinos living in the modern world and the causes of these problems.


What’s your definition of Salsa?

 I don’t believe salsa is a rhythm or a genre that can be identified or classified: salsa is an idea, a concept, the result of a way of approaching music from the Latin American cultural perspective.


(Excerpts from Faces of Salsa, interview with Willie Colon by Leonardo P.Fuente)



:: Music

Significant Contribution to the Salsa Conscious Movement



Founders of Conscious Salsa:


Willie Colon/Ruben Blades

Original Release 1978

Label: Fania (USA)


:: The Salsa Explosion –  Gone Mainstream

The Commercial “Face” of Salsa


The boom was a double-edged sword: it helped us get exposure, but it definitely introduced commercial interests.  When salsa began to become popular among the Latin public of the United States and the Caribbean, it became part of a business, and soon the record labels started looking for formulas to take advantage of that success.

 (Excerpts from Faces of Salsa, interview with Willie Colon by Leonardo P.Fuente )

:: The Social and Political Climate of the 1960s

Impact of U.S. Blockade on Cuba


It’s clear that salsa has its deepest roots in Cuban son and that due to the blockade and the political climate of the 1960s, less information started to come out of Cuba.  That break was a decisive factor in the birth of salsa, which emerges as a grafting of the musical folklore of other Latin American countries onto son.  …this element that distinguishes son from salsa:  while son has specific structure, salsa is pure freedom, which means it can start with a guaguanco and finish with a Puerto Rican aguinaldo, with a dash of Brazilian batucada or a passage from Mozart.

(Excerpts from Faces of Salsa, interview with Willie Colon by Leonardo P.Fuente )



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