Salsa Music for Mexico


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Many artists have dedicated songs to Mexico. As a major force and an important musical mecca for Latin music, Mexico is an important stage every artist wants to visit.s we celebrate Mexico’s independence in September, I’m reflecting on some Salsa songs which pay tribute to the country of the Aztecs and Mayas.

Salsa Music Dedicated to Mexico

I got to learn some classical Mexican songs through Salsa music. I know, that is pathetic, but I hardly listened to anything else in my youth years. One that comes readily to mind is Willie Rosario’s rendition of the Mexican classic “Ojalá Que Te Vaya Bonito“. This was one of three strong Salsa songs I really liked from the maestro Rosario’s Salsa album “From the Depth of My Brain“, released in 1978. The late Junior Toledo was Willie Rosario’s singer at the time. Junior provided another excellent performance in the Salsa music version of this Mexican classic.

Another great Salsa song dedicated to Mexico is El Gran Combo’sConozca a México“, included in the Salsa album “En Las Vegas” also released in 1978. This is a great Salsa song, with a strong “montuno” which makes moves your feet. The Salsa song lyrics mention many of Mexico’s cities and is a much better song than their previous tribute to Mexico, “Homenaje a México” recorded in their previous Salsa album “International” (1977).

Also around this time, Cheo Feliciano recorded a tribute to Mexico with a Salsa song that was a potpourri of Mexican classics. Cheo recorded the song “Mosaico a México” in the 1977 Salsa album “Mi Tierra y Yo“.

During the “Salsa Romantica” boom many artists recorded Salsa songs made popular by Mexican ballad singers. One example is Frankie Ruiz’s popular “Tu Con El“. This song was previously made famous by the great Mexican singer José José.

But if we think of more recent times, Tito Puente recorded a tribute Salsa song to Mexico in his very last Salsa album, “Obra Maestra” (2000). In it he collaborated with Eddie Palmieri and a list of some of the best Salsa singers. The song “Mariachi Medley; Cielito Linda/La Negra” was performed brilliantly by Oscar D’León and included a Mariachi playing alongside Tito Puente’s orchestra.

Ismael Miranda in cover of "Tequila y Ron"
Ismael Miranda also paid tribute to Mexico with Salsa versions of Mexican classics in “Tequila y Ron”.

Also, the great Salsa singer Tito Nieves recorded a Salsa album of songs from Marco Antonio Solís, titled “Canciones Clasicas de Marco Antonio Solís” released in 2007.

The Potential Market of Salsa Music in Mexico

Mexico has a great cultural heritage and is one of the most important Latin American stages for any artist. Mexico still has great potential for Salsa music growth. In addition, I would estimate that a small fraction of the population actually follows Salsa music.

Yet, because of Mexico’s huge population, a tiny fraction means a lot of Salseros in raw numbers. Salsa artists like Oscar D’León, Gilberto Santa Rosa, El Gran Combo, and Grupo Niche have been cultivating a Mexican following for years.

Puerto Rican singer Olga Tañón worked with the ex-Buki Marco Antonio Solís, who produced for her a couple of Latin pop-ballad albums. This was part of Olga’s strategy to penetrate the Mexican market. The strategy worked at least partially, as Olga Tañon has become a popular artist in Mexico.

And yet, Mexico still offers Salsa artists and record labels a market with a lot of growth potential.

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