Everything you think you know about salsa music is BS. What you see on TV and hear on the radio are productions from the top producers and record companies who spend countless resources pulling together songwriters, musicians, and grooming salseros out of good-looking men. Skills be damned.
Fine. Call me a purist.
But at least someone’s got my back. A group of former punk rockers from Puerto Rico called Orquesta el Macabeo have apparently also tired of the genre's commercialization. For once, they offer my ears contemporary salsa that is for the streets, by the streets — just like how it started in the first place.
They seem to have that simple something that outright eludes the charts: songs whose tempo and emotion actually mirror the lyrical content. Here's a cohesive group of musicians whose value goes beyond the chiseled smile of a pinup-caliber vocalist.
This, my friends, is salsa as our parents knew it, in the glory days of Fania. Step outside of the $1000-an-hour studio with bickering bandmates and into the world of a group of friends who obviously enjoy playing music together.
As their newest single, "Me Repito" (below) shows, salsa is not always meant just for dancing. When done correctly, the genre is a hell of a platform for introspection. And it is freaking addicting. Try not to put this thing on loop.
Aren't you glad to know there is still much more to this genre than another "Vivir Mi Vida"-style mega-hit?
And from here I'll let a selection of the music speak for itself.
Daniel Rivero is a producer/reporter for Fusion who focuses on police and justice issues. He also skateboards, does a bunch of arts related things on his off time, and likes Cuban coffee.