Version: 12031802 Rev. 1
The bolero is a musical phenomenon of the 20th century, though it has its roots in musical practices from the late 19th century. This metagenre contains a constellation of Caribbean popular forms. In Cuba, its origin is traced to the composition of "Tristezas" by José "Pepe" Sánchez in 1886. The Cuban bolero is one of the forms of Caribbean music that was transformed by the U.S. recording industry. Its standardization as a commercial and tourism genre made it an emblem of regional identity.
The Cuban bolero also passed through the transformative process of cross-pollination, however, and it was affected by the Caribbean forms of music from Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the ballads of the French- and English-speaking Caribbean.
Among the most recognized composers and performers were Agustín Lara (Mexico); Rafael Hernández and Pedro Flores (Puerto Rico) and Ernesto Lecuona and Miguel Matamoros (Cuba).
Calypso is a musical phenomenon that emerged from the interaction of popular forms of African descent and European forms of entertainment such as the carnival. Its local origins in a small instrumental format, consisting of string instruments, various percussion and woodwind instruments did not have a trans-Caribbean impact until the appearance of the big band format and the invention of the steel pan band after 1945.
What made this music a metagenre was its diffusion and the fact that it became a local musical form in Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Venezuela and Puerto Rico and in the islands of the Lesser Antilles and Providencia Island of Colombia.
The music is made using metallic drums fabricated from recycled oil barrels, called steel drums. The steel drum groups have an important presence in the carnivals. In Callao, Venezuela, it is known by the name bum-bac. The calypso singers are called calypsonians.
Among the most famous calypso singers were Lord Kitchener, Roaring Lion, Lord Invader and Mighty Sparrow in Trinidad and Tobago, and Walter Ferguson of Panama, among others.
Salsa is a metagenre that emerged in the 1970s. Its immediate antecedent was the popularization of the cha-cha-chá, the mambo, the rumba and particularly the son, through the commercial networks of radio, cinema, the tourism industry and the nightclub culture. Between the 1930s and the 1950s, the big band orchestra format had a huge impact on Caribbean music. This included the Cuban music that was marketed at a global level.
It was the Caribbean brass band, however, that was the favored instrumental format for festivities in the Puerto Rican neighborhoods of New York, especially the new migration after World War II. This form produced the instrumental format that still characterizes salsa today: the combo. These changes closely followed the demographic changes of the public who danced at the nightclubs, such as the Palladium in the Barrio in Harlem.
In the 1960s, the commercial musical stars of Cuba, such as Dámaso Pérez Prado, Arsenio Rodríguez, Benny Moré, Gilberto Valdés, Mongo Santamaría and Francisco Raúl Gutiérrez Grillo (Machito) shared popularity with Puerto Ricans such as Tito Puente (the King of the Timbales), Charlie and Eddie Palmieri, Tito Rodríguez, Ray Barretto and Joe Quijano. It was during the 1970s that a qualitative change began among the Cuban genres. The Puerto Ricans, both in New York and on the island of Puerto Rico, fueled this change.
The development of the music that would come to be known as salsa is the juncture of various musical traditions. In Puerto Rico, performances of plena and bomba in combo format by Ismael Rivera and Rafael Cortijo established a musical form that had a direct impact on the performances of Cuban genres. In New York City, the creation of the recording house Fania Records by Johnny Pacheco and Jerry Massucci, and the creative work of artists such as Ismael Miranda, Willie Colón, Héctor "Lavoe" Pérez, Roberto Roena, Bobby Valentín, and Willie Rosario, generated a series of new musical styles such as the boogaloo, jala-jala, shingalín, pata-pata and the mazucamba. These rhythms established salsa as a metagenre because of their musical synergy. In that respect, Puerto Rican plena and bomba, Dominican merengue and the urban music of Panama took on a formative surge they did not have before.