In this case I am referring to composition, instruments, lyrics, singing and the whole nine yards. Perhaps some creators of Salsa music are getting credit, but not if you are from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela or Colombia. All credit has gone to Puerto Rico and Cuba.
I started not to post about this topic. Too many people get emotional, when it comes to claiming their own. I am not sure why. But I do notice one thing. Whenever someone tries to give dark people credit for their work, light-skinned people get angry. Why? Haven’t you hogged the stage long enough? I have seen enough comments on You Tube that are emotionally charged and not based on reality. I also have been around people from different countries.
I am posting this now, due to the overwhelming response in a blogspot post that I wrote.
I am a Sociologist so I cannot afford to be prejudice. Thus, I have to be inclusive. I went to a White College and Black High School. I have a Latino origin. I say all this to say that I have pretty much been around many different types of people and cultures. I am including The Orient to include Thailand, China, Japan, Middle East, Africans, to name a few. Racism is a learned behavior. But it is so overt in the United States, that it becomes a culture shock for people who are not used to a charged environment 24/7.
That being said, I am guessing that the originators of salsa and son did not get credit because they are too dark. The Untouchables of India are a prime example of the conspiracy to eliminate and denigrate dark people across the globe. Thus, in an environment where it does not pay to be dark, Black or dark musicians and singers have it tough. If you live in the United States, you are aware that Black singers, including Motown artists were not allowed in White restaurants and Night Clubs, or hotels for that matter. Well, the Latin experience is something to watch. My concern is with the dark people of the countryside who play music. Who gives them credit? I know for a fact that their music is sampled. I have first hand experience in this.
The following link explains that The style of Son originated in the Dominican Republic. You may have to translate it though. Use Google translate. A historian is speaking. Cut and paste please, because I have not yet figured out WordPress linkage. If you link it, you will see that Dominican son goes as far back as the 1800’s, at least.
It is easy to point out the many dark salseros who made it. But the public has not seen the other side of the coin: those who did not make it. I will start with my grandfather and then I will move to other people so it won’t be just about me.
My grandfather was a musician, lyricists and singer/songwriter. Many women threw themselves at him. He owned an entire town. Due to the resources on his land, the government did a number on him, by paying him way less than it was worth. Then suddenly the money disappears overnight. But even with all the tricks that the light-skinned President, Trujillo, did such as burning deeds owned by dark people and transferring it to light people. Even as he massacred many Haitians due to their dark complexions, everyone was aware that dark people would never get credit for anything.
Coming up as a child and hearing these things made me think that this kind of behavior was isolated to that part of the world. But no, come to find out, it is a worldwide phenomena. Even Whitney Houston was told she looked too ethnic and thus they weren’t going to promote her. Her determination is what caused her to make it, though.
Okay, I am going to get to the point. Unless you have been living under a rock, you are not aware that racism exists worldwide. I can’t believe I am talking about this but here I go, to make a point for the sake of the comments on blogspot. I want to clarify why part one was written in the first place.
In spite of all the light-skinned singers who used my grandfather’s music, we never saw a penny of it. They, in turn, became filthy rich. El Torito admitted it when my mother approached him about singing her father’s songs. My mother didn’t care about the money. Either she was naive or the picture is unclear. She was just making statements to him and he agreed. If you don’t know the fame of El Torito, then you never heard Bachata. He turns every song he sings into Bachata style. Everyone loves his music all over the Hispanic world, including Mexicans. I do too. El Torito is light-skin. My grandfather is dark-skinned. Disclaimer, I love El Torito and worship his singing capabilities. I don’t believe he did anything wrong. This is not to denigrate him. He is too honest person, so it is possible that the music was in the public domain? I do not know that because I didn’t grow up around my grandfather.
Next point. Enlightened people are aware that The Son is the precursor to Salsa. But they want to give credit to Cubans, not Dominicans. People are mixed up because Dominicans were under the iron fist of a long running dictator, and thus their music did not properly get out, until now. But even with that, back in the 1500’s, Dominican son existed. Dominican sisters centuries ago took the Son to Cuba. And the rest is history. I will provide links. This way you can read more about it without this turning into a book.
Today, people will say that Dominicans invented The Merengue and Cubans invented Salsa. Puerto rico claims Salsa. Cubans can claim Rumba, Bolero, Guaracha and many other forms. You will hear Colombians say that they create good Salsa, and not just Cumbia. The reality is that Merengue more than likely originated in Puerto Rico. Dominicans started the Son and Salsa. At this point let me provide links so this wont turn into a book (or a witch hunt for that matter).
The reality is that regions cannot hog a dancing style any more than they can hog a singing style. Most of the Latino styles, including instruments, came from Africa. Few make the connections. But it explains why the musical styes of dark Latinos is so similar. Many will admit that the drums are African as well as the Marimba, Calimba, Guiro and Maracas etc. But somehow they always attribute horns and guitars to Europeans. If truth must be told, the guitar had it’s birth in Africa. From there it moved to Spain and the rest is history. People must be reminded that just because a people adopt a particular instrument does not mean they invented it.
Here is a link of a walking history book on music. Not only that, but he can play any style of Latin American music. We must remember that the Dominican Republic was the first stopping place for the Colonists. It was here that the fusion of all significant cultures met. Here is the link on the musician I was making reference to earlier:
In this blog I made many clarifications. I have revealed much. But due to false indoctrination, there may be resistance. I notice negative comments when a White dude posted the truth about the originators of Son, as Dominicans. It got heated because the Cubans that are light-skinned are so used to hearing a lot of Cubans adopt that style.
What kills me is the racial innuendos that accompany the statements. The truth of the matter is that in Latin America, White Mexicans, White Cubans, Whiter Peruvians and White Argentinians etc. grew up listening to Black music, without knowing that the songwriters and singers and musicians were Black. It happened in the same manner that Whites listened to Black music in the 50’s 60’s behind their parents back. And even before that. One point is that many Whites grew up listening to Motown. The beat and style are infectious. But that is recent, in the grand scheme of things, because going back to jazz, the same thing was happening in the 1800’s.
But due to Jim Crow type of Law, separate fountains, the indoctrination of inferiority, stuck. The contribution of Blacks to music, instrument and composition reverberates even to India and the Middle East. But they are not acknowledged. People who hear the oriental style of Ghanainas say that it sounds Chinese. But quite frankly, Chinese learned it from Africa. There is plenty of evidence that the Olmec type lived in China long before the Asians got there. It would not be fair to turn this into a history book. But for brevity’s sake, Chinese do admit killing off the short Black people. So during Thanksgiving while Whites celebrate killing off Indians, Chinese mourn the killing off of their ancestors, the pygmies. Mind you, not all Asians are this conscious. Consciousness and unconsciousness occurs among all the races. Some are cognizant , some are not.
Copy this link ie cut and paste, scroll down and you will see Dominicans such as Wilfrido Vargas, Porfi Jimenez and many more, being just as great as any salsero (mucically speaking). So what you will see is people after Trujillo that came into their own with salsa. I have shown you that these styles existed even before Trujillo unofficially “banned” them or better yet, suppressed them. I am saddened to live in a world where there is so much stereotyping. We ask people where they are from in order to put them in categories. What people are really saying is “how shall I treat you?”
Meanwhile El Son De La Ma Teodora stands alone as proof that Dominicans were singing son as early as 1845 and before.
I must say though, that many Colombians and Venezuelans put out some great salsa too. I am simply giving credit to others besides Puerto Ricans and Cubans. That remains without being said. I just want the world to know that certain musical styles are not limited to a particular regions. They do have a common denominator though. The originators are heavily melanated – what some call Black, negro and so forth, but are actually Moreno aka Moors. The dictionary defines black as a white person and white as a black person, so we shall call them what they are: Moors. The term comes from Morocco, Mauritania and such African countries that have that same root. This to me shows the connection to the Motherland Africa, quiet as it is kept. It also makes me question just how much suppression did others experience besides Dominicans.
Disclaimer: I am not angry at El Torito for singing my grandfather’s songs and making millions. He is a very decent being. I just wish I had benefited from it somehow.
The main reason why Dominican music remain unknown to the modern world is because the dictator, Trujillo,( who was put in place by the Nazi mentality), stopped all tourism for 30 years, and literally dictated which type of music would be played. Many were killed. Few escaped the wrath of Trujillo. Well, thanks to him Dominican music is unknown. Many Mexicans, Colombians and basically all of Latin America play El Torito’s music. I doubt if they even know that he is Dominican. If they do, they may see him as the exception. Some are shocked that other Dominican musicians and singers have a handle on Salsa. Thanks to Trujillo, Dominicans get credit predominantly for merengue style music. Naturally, many Dominicans adopted this style because that is what was accepted. This is similar to the Afro-Americans embracing rap, although they are completely capable of playing jazz, rock and roll and many other genres. People focus on what is putting food on the table. Dominicans are multi-talented people. I tried to show this in this limited space. If the link does not work please copy and paste, because I am new to this linking technology.
copyright Sept 11 2014, Mercedes Beato Hawkins