Within secular Salsa music, there are some great Salsa Cristiana songs that got through. Here are my top seven (with YouTube videos)!
I’ve always believed that embedding some spiritual songs in secular albums is the best way to convey the message. Perhaps, Salsa Cristiana should be a new chapter in my blog series “Salsa Music Ups and Downs”, which you can read HERE.
My 7 Favorite Salsa Cristiana Songs
1. El Nazareno (Ismael Rivera) – without doubt my favorite Salsa Cristiana song is the 1974 hit “El Nazareno” (included in the album “Traigo de Todo”) as it provides a message of forgiveness and self-confidence from social pressures. The song was written by Henry Williams.
2. El Buen Pastor (Raphy Leavitt y La Selecta) – not much after “El Nazareno”, Raphy Leavitt released with Orquesta La Selecta “El Buen Pastor”. It was as part of the 1976 album “De Frente a la Vida”. In addtion to being a great Salsa Cristiana song, it has a beautiful message of inner strength. Finally, the song was written by Raphy Leavitt.
3. Bohemio (Luis “Perico” Ortiz) – this song was part of the 1981 album “Sabroso”. It not only has a nice message about Christ (El Bohemio) but also a fantastic musical arrangement. Additionally, it was written by Luis “Perico” Ortiz.
4. El Todopoderoso (Hector Lavoe) – the first single of his debut 1975 solo album “La Voz”, “El Todopoderoso” was a big hit. It was written by Willie Colon and Hector Lavoe. Perhaps a remaining song from the years they spent together, in which they authored many of their songs.
5. Libro de Amor (Bobby Valentin) – a nice song that talks about the Bible, “Libro de Amor” was part of Bobby Valentin’s 1978 album “Bobby Valentin”. The album was also known as “the white album”. It also included “La Boda de Ella”. Additionally, the album was Cano Estremera’s debut with the Valentin band, but the “Libro de Amor” was performed by Johnny Vazquez. As a final note, it was written by Israel Perez.
6. Alabao (Luis “Perico” Ortiz) – the master trumpet player and arranger began his career as a bandleader with the 1978 album “Super Salsa”. It’s worth noting that “Alabao” was the 2nd single of the album, after “Julian del Valle”. Additionally, singer Rafael DeJesus immediately left a mark with this Salsa hit.
The song praises the Lord and asks for peace. Note: Luis Perico Ortiz sings the first verses of the song. In “Super Salsa” Perico assembled a super band. It included Papo Lucca on piano, Eddie Guagua on bass, Cachete Maldonado in congas, Jimmy Delgado in timbales, and Ramon Rodriguez in coros. “Alabao was written by Ivonne Perdido.
7. El Mesias (Ismael Rivera) – another great song by Ismael Rivera (written by Johnny Oritz) of his 1977 album “De Todas Maneras Rosas”. It also makes reference to “El Nazareno”. Another thing that I like about the song is that it is in Puerto Rican “bomba”. Ismael was a master of the “bomba” and “plena” rhythms. In addition, he performed great on this one.