Tuesday, March 5, 2024

New York is getting a museum devoted to salsa music : NPR


Eddie Torres Jr. and Princess Serrano dance with two younger salseros on the first pop-up of the Worldwide Salsa Museum

Willy Rodriguez


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Willy Rodriguez


Eddie Torres Jr. and Princess Serrano dance with two younger salseros on the first pop-up of the Worldwide Salsa Museum

Willy Rodriguez

The guts of salsa – the fast-tempo, horn-heavy music and its hip-swinging dance type – has beat loudly and strongly in New York for many years. The Bronx even earned the title of “El Condado de la Salsa,” or “The Burrough of Salsa.”

Now the town is dwelling to the primary museum devoted to the music that traces its roots to Africa.

Not like different museums round New York teeming with shows and hushed voices, the Worldwide Salsa Museum guarantees to be vigorous and versatile, with plans to finally embrace a recording studio, together with dance and music packages.

The museum can also be evolving, very like the music it’s devoted to. It at the moment hosts giant pop-ups whereas its board seeks out a everlasting dwelling, and the museum shouldn’t be anticipated to occupy its personal constructing within the subsequent 5 years.

For a everlasting house, the museum founders have their coronary heart set on a decommissioned army facility referred to as Kingsbridge Armory in The Bronx.

The legacy of salsa needs to be held within the place it was popularized, stated board member Janice Torres. Having the museum in The Bronx can also be about offering entry to a neighborhood that’s usually neglected, she stated.

“We get to be those who assist protect historical past – that means Afro-Latinos, that means folks from New York, from The Bronx, from Brooklyn, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic,” Torres stated. “We get to assist protect our oral histories.”

Puerto Rican and dwelling in New York, Torres calls herself a descendant of the style.

Even individuals who do not share a standard language converse salsa, she stated, with salsa occasions attracting folks from all around the world.

Shawnick Rodriguez, who goes by ArtbySIR, confirmed her visible artwork on the museum’s first pop-up. She associates salsa with old-school Puerto Rico.

Shawnick Rodriguez/ArtbySIR


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Shawnick Rodriguez/ArtbySIR


Shawnick Rodriguez, who goes by ArtbySIR, confirmed her visible artwork on the museum’s first pop-up. She associates salsa with old-school Puerto Rico.

Shawnick Rodriguez/ArtbySIR

From Africa to The Bronx, after which past

“The origins of salsa got here from Africa with its distinctive, percussive rhythms and made its manner via the Atlantic, into the Caribbean,” stated the museum’s co-founder, Willy Rodriguez. “From there it grew to become mambo, borracha, guaguanco, son montuno, rumba.”

And from there, the music was dropped at New York by West Indian migrants and revolutionized into the sounds salseros know at this time.

“If we do not protect this, we’re positively going to lose the essence of the place this music got here from,” Rodriquez stated, including that salsa is “deeply embedded in our DNA as Latinos and as African Individuals.”

The Worldwide Salsa Museum hosted its first pop-up occasion final yr along with the New York Worldwide Salsa Congress. Followers listened and danced to traditional and new artists, amongst different issues.

Visible artist Shawnick Rodriguez, who goes by ArtbySIR, confirmed a portray of band devices inside a colonial-style Puerto Rican dwelling.

“After I consider Puerto Rico, I consider old-fashioned salsa,” she stated. “Even in the case of listening to salsa, you consider that genuine, home-cooked meal.”

The following pop-up is deliberate for Labor Day weekend in September.

A part of the museum’s mission is to affect the longer term, together with educating the current and preserving the previous. That would embrace packages on monetary literacy, psychological well being and neighborhood improvement, Rodriguez stated.

Already, the museum has teamed up with the NYPD’s youth program to assist bridge the hole between police and the neighborhood via music.

“It isn’t nearly salsa music, however how we are able to affect the neighborhood in a manner the place we empower them to do higher,” stated Rodriguez.

Ally Schweitzer edited the audio model of this story. The digital model was edited by Lisa Lambert.

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