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Faces of Salsa: A Spoken History of the Music Paperback – November 17, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Smithsonian Books (November 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1588340805
  • ISBN-13: 978-1588340801
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,136,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Leonardo Padura Fuentes is a Cuban writer whose works include Máscaras, La Puerta de Alcalá y Otras Cacerías, Vientos de Cuaresma, and Pasada Perfecto.

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Karin Norgard on January 2, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For many, the word salsa connotes rhythm and excitement. For Leonardo Padura Fuentes, it represents the struggle of a people to create music with meaning. In this book, the Cuban writer interviews thirteen men who figured prominently in the Latin music scene during salsa's early development. Their various journeys explore music as a form of expression, protest, and inspiration. And they all point to a genre that has sought to reconcile flash with substance, popularity with meaning. They point, writes Fuentes, to a "salsa with a conscience".

No discussion of salsa history is complete without the unsolvable debate over the very word "salsa". How did the term come about, what music does it encompass, is it even a valid categorization of the music it connotes? Some of the very musicians responsible for making salsa what it is today give their take on the term and whether it should be used at all. Most interesting is Fania founder Johnny Pacheco's take on the term that he is said to have created to market the music, as well as Cuban musicologist Radamés Giro's more detached view on the label. The interviewees also discuss the roots of salsa, from it's evolution from the Cuban son to the great variety of Caribbean influences to the development of its urban identity in the Latino barrios of New York.

The exploration of salsa's roots and the labels that define it are not only a matter of history. Fuentes' interviews reveal the conscious struggle of Latin musicians to maintain a balance between salsa as music and salsa as commodity. Music can inspire, enlighten, reveal, and criticize. It can speak to people's conditions and point out injustices. It can also, on a purely musical level, push the limits of rhythm, instrumentation, and improvisation.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Marcos on February 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
En que otro libro puedes leer de tan diversos personajes de la musica latina como Juan Formell, Juan Luis Guerra, y Willie Colon?

El libro esta lleno de entrevistas muy interesantes, y se nota el amor del autor a la musica. Lo mas importante que saque de este libro es esto:
1. Casi todos los musicos salseros de Puerto Rico escuchan Timba Cubana
2. Casi todos los Timberos Cubanos escuchan Salsa de Puerto Rico

Hay un tema de union latina que es muy positivo. Si van a conseguir un libro, y solo un libro, sobre la musica salsera este es una muy buena seleccion.
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By Reynaldo I. on February 18, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very good book, interesting and made reminisce about the old days growing listening to this music.
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More About the Author

Leonardo Padura was born in Havana in 1955 and lives there today. A novelist, journalist, and critic, he is the author of several novels, one collection of essays, and a volume of short stories. Leonardo Padura is the most internationally successful Cuban novelist of the revolutionary era and responsible for renovating the Cuban detective narrative in the 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union.His Havana series crime novels featuring the detective Mario Conde, published in English by Bitter Lemon Press, have been translated into many languages and have won literary prizes around the world. In January 2014 his historical novel about Trotsky's assassin, The Man Who Loved Dogs, will be published in English.

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