Salsa Music Genres

There are many sub genres in salsa music. Let’s read about the different salsa music genres and understand which style of salsa dancing is relevant to each one. Here are five main salsa music genres and a description about them.

Salsa Romantica

Some might call this a sub genre of Colombian or Puetro Rican. It’s a soft kind of genre. It’s easy listening and it’s much easier to find the beat. The cantante (singer) describes a relationship and love stories. There’s a lot of criticism about salsa romantica. Some people don’t consider it as a true form of salsa, despite the face that it is the most popular. The leading artists of this genre are Marc Anthony, Rey Ruiz, La India, Luis Enrique and the list goes on.

Preferably danced On1 (LA/Puerto Rican Salsa)

Salsa Mambo

Jazz; mostly instrumental salsa. The beat is mostly fast and requires quick feet. It was invented in Cuba during the 30’s and still being played today. Tito Puente is the most famous mambo musician but today La Maxima has good mambo music and Salsa DJ’s produce electronic style of mambo.

Preferably danced On1 (La/Puerto Rican Salsa), On2 (NY style salsa) or regular mambo dance.

Salsa Dura

A form of music that has a lot of instrumental development. It combines more lyrics but is very hard to follow. It combines the Jazz and the Salsa and requires unique skill and talent. Fania all Stars demonstrate that and Spanish Harlem Orchestra. Jimmy Bosch is one of the best in this genre are the Salsa Romantica emerged from this and the Colombian style salsa.

Preferably danced On2 (NY style salsa) or On1 (La Puerto Rican Salsa)

Colombian Salsa

Colombian salsa is very different from the styles above. It’s usually very fast to match the footwork of the Colombian Salsa Dance. It’s somewhere between Salsa Romantica and Cuban salsa but still has it’s own magic. Joe Arroyo is one of the most famous Colombian Salsa artists as well as Grupo Niche, Orquestra Guanyacan and La Sonora Carruseles.

Preferably danced on Colombian style Salsa.


Last but not least we have the hardcore Timba. Timba music is very long and most of the bands use modern beat. It’s the most popular music in Cuba today, right next to the Reggeaton. They combine R&B, Jazz, Rock, and mambo. The pattern is very simple which makes it easier to find the beat. Los Van Van is one of the most popular bands that plays Timba, along with Havena D’Primera, Juan Formall and many other.

Preferably danced on Cuban Style Salsa.

Want to know more?