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Salsa Dura Songs

Featuring a playlist of Hard, Real Salsa songs.

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Salsa is one of the most popular Latin music genres around the world. To fully appreciate Salsa, you eventually need to listen to 'real' Salsa. By this, I am referring to what is known as Salsa dura in Spanish, and hard Salsa or fat Salsa in English. In order to get a taste of the 'real thing,' this article provides you with a playlist of 10 tracks featuring the original and best sound Salsa music has ever produced.

"Ahora Me Da Pena" - Henry Fiol

Photo Courtesy SAR Records
Photo Courtesy SAR Records

Originally from New York, Henry Fiol is a popular Salsa singer whose repertoire has been entirely influenced by the original Salsa from the 1970s. However, his style is a bit softer than the hectic sound that defined Salsa dura during that decade. His elegant voice and red suits set Henry Fiol apart from the rest of the crowd. Nevertheless, song like "Ahora Me Da Pena" or "La Juma De Ayer" became favorite tracks among Salsa dura fans. The trumpets on this tune are great.

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"Fe" - The Lebron Brothers

Although they were born in Puerto Rico, the Lebron Brothers were raised in Brooklyn, New York. They have an extensive repertoire of Salsa dura hits including songs like "Salsa Y Control," and "Falta". "Fe" is another of the most popular hard Salsa tunes ever produced by the legendary Hermanos Lebron. The brass sections on this song are just amazing.

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"Pa' Bravo Yo" - Justo Betancourt

Justo Betancourt's "Pa' Bravo Yo" is one of the greatest Salsa songs ever produced. With its amazing percussion and the marvelous voice of the Cuban singer, "Pa' Bravo Yo" is one of the tracks that better defines the whole idea behind Salsa dura.

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"Hace Tiempo" - Angel Canales

Photo Courtesy Fania
Photo Courtesy Fania

Although he was born in Puerto Rico, Angel Canales grew up in New York City where he witnessed the birth of Salsa music. With his Marvin Hagler look and unique nasal voice, Angel Canales's music is entirely marked by the original sound that defined hard Salsa during the 1970s. From the amazing album Sabor, "Hace Tiempo" is one of the most popular songs ever produced by Angel Canales.

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"La Cartera" - Larry Harlow

"La Cartera" is probably the most famous song ever produced by the legendary pianist Larry Harlow. Defined by the melodies of the violins in the background, "La Cartera" offers a fantastic piano solo by Larry Harlow and amazing musical arrangements. This song is a pure Salsa dura explosion from beginning to end.

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"Lo Que Dice Justi" - Wayne Gorbea

The music of Wayne Gorbea has been shaped around the original sound of Salsa. "Lo Que Dice Justi" is one of the best singles ever produced by Wayne Gorbea. A fantastic track from beginning to end, "Lo Que Dice Justi" is an ideal tune for any Latin party. With its catchy "Alo, Alo!" chorus, this track features vibrant percussion, piano playing and brass sections.

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"Buenaventura Y Caney" - Grupo Niche

Although Salsa dura was a phenomenon that evolved in New York during the 1970s, its influence was felt way beyond the Big Apple. The first albums produced by the popular Salsa band from Colombia Grupo Niche were, in fact, heavily influenced by the sounds of the hard Salsa that was produced in New York. With its amazing percussion and the voice of the legendary singer Alvaro del Castillo, "Buenaventura Y Caney" is one of the best tracks of Colombia's own hard Salsa movement.

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"La Esencia Del Guaguanco" - Johnny Pacheco and Pete 'El Conde' Rodriguez

Photo Courtesy Fania
Photo Courtesy Fania

Johnny Pacheco, the famous flautist and founder of the legendary Fania All Stars, is one of the most well known artists of the whole Salsa dura movement. He recorded several of his most enduring songs alongside the legendary singer Pete 'El Conde' Rodriguez, one of the best soneros of all time. "La Esencia Del Guaguanco" is a classy single defined by its amazing brass sections and Rodriguez's elegant voice.

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"Abuelita" - Hector Lavoe

This salsa dura playlist would be incomplete without a track by the legendary Hector Lavoe. Out of the many hits Hector Lavoe recorded throughout his life, "Abuelita" is definitely one of those tracks that better captures the original sound of New York's hard Salsa. Hector Lavoe recorded this song alongside the greatest trombone player Willie Colon.

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"Siguelo" - Javier Vazquez

Photo Courtesy Alegre
Photo Courtesy Alegre

Although he was originally from Cuba, Javier Vazquez was an integral part of the sounds that defined Salsa dura in New York. From his hit album La Verdad, "Siguelo" is one of the best songs from the hard Salsa movement. An ideal song for a Latin party with the flavor of the original and best sound of Salsa.

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