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Revealing Items

Part One:
One Man's Word
Part Two:
Turning Westward
Part Three:
An African Movement
Part Four:
Part Five:
Part Six:
Puerto Rico
Part Seven:
Borinquen NYC
Part Eight:
Who Owns Salsa?
Part Nine:
Salsa in the UK

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Revealing Items


Subject: Multimedia History of Salsa

Dear Loo,

I enjoyed your thorough and well-written History of Salsa. I made my own humble attempt in 2000 when I published this multimedia site with the NY Times on the Web. I thought you might enjoy it as it includes samples of Izzy's posters as well as an audio timeline with music samples and interviews with Johnny Pacheco and La India. It is no longer "live" on the Times' Web site but I hope it can be of some use as a research destination and so I send it around now and then. Please share it with anyone you think would enjoy it.

Editorial/Op-Ed: TimesSelect


A History of Salsa

It's with a great deal of relief, and a hint of personal satisfaction that I've finally been able to redress a long-standing imbalance - five years is a long time. I'm talking about the most glaring omission in the History of Salsa as it so stood; a suitable acknowledgement of the roles Puerto Ricans played in bringing salsa to the world stage. That's not to belittle the efforts of the Colombians, Venezuelans, the Latin communities of Miami, and those in other centres. I will be presenting perspectives of them in due course.

The emphasis of the new sections, and concomitantly my writing style, has changed. This is inevitable; reflecting as it where an evolution in my understanding of the subject. I feel that it has lent an additional texture to the palette of the discourse.

Originally the plan was to produce one webpage about Puerto Rican musicians, but it soon became clear that the work needed to be split into two to accommodate the two sites of development that were involved: Puerto Rico and New York City. In some respects the pendulum has swung farther away from Cuba than I would have liked, but rather than trim it back, I thought that leaving everything in would serve you better in making up your own mind.

Until the next time.

Loo Yeo
6th June 2006

From the number of messages I've received asking for a “history of salsa” and “salsa dance history”, it became obvious that the two previous sections - 'History: Influences' and 'History: Danzón and On' were not enough.

Well, here's the new version at last. Just in case you're wondering, it's not meant to the definitive article; there are specialist pieces with more detail, some of which can be found on the resources page. There are seven sections in all, and they are arranged in order of argument instead of chronology: beginning with Izzy Sanabria's use of the word; then tracing the introduction of Old World and African culture to the Caribbean; through to how Cuba became the focal point of Latin music. It concludes with a personal perspective on both the concept of ownership, and the adaptation of salsa to the UK environment.

I hope you find this version more enjoyable. My thanks to all of you who took the time to write in, your comments and critique are very much appreciated.

Loo Yen Yeo
21st February 2002



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1999 Salsa & Merengue Society