8 junio, 2024

The 26 most famous salsa singers

There is salsa singers who have stood out for their charisma, lyrics of their songs, passion for singing and acting, and personality of their voices. Among them stand out Héctor Lavoe, Willie Colón, Rubén Blades, Frankie Ruiz, among others.

Salsa is a mixture of influences, rhythms and diverse musical proposals. Its place of origin is still a matter of debate, but even when its popularity exploded in New York during the 1960s, the trace of its roots goes all the way to Cuba.

The son, the guaracha, the cha cha chá, the mambo and even the bolero were musical genres that contributed to the movement called Latin Jazz and that had a definitive influence on the emergence of the first composers, arrangers, instrumentalists and salsa singers.

Around 1970, the Fania All-Stars group was formed in New York, musicians of Puerto Rican origin, which brought together many of those who would become the big names on the salsa scene.

The best salsa singers in history

Hector Lavoe (1946-1993)

One of the most recognized figures of the genre. This Puerto Rican-born singer recorded iconic songs like The singer. They nicknamed him “the Voice”.

Despite his success, his life came to a tragic end as he suffered a long period of depression and died from complications of HIV.

Mark Anthony (1968-)

In addition to standing out as a salsa singer, this New York-born artist has dabbled in ballads, boleros, and pop. He was married to actress and singer Jennifer Lopez for 7 years. As an actor he has participated in multiple productions.

Willie Colon (1950-)

He was born in the Bronx, in New York, although of Puerto Rican parents. A skilled trombone player, he also stood out as a vocalist, becoming a definitive figure in the salsa genre from the 1960s to the present.

Ruben Blades (1948-)

Panamanian musician, he developed a large part of his career in New York, in the Fania All-Stars. His compositions are characterized by their political charge and protest. He is one of the main references of the genre.

Johnny Pacheco (1935-2021)

Artist born in the Dominican Republic. He is considered the creator of the term Salsa to name the musical genre that he helped to popularize.

Together with Jerry Masucci he founded Fania Records, serving as CEO, creative director and music producer. In 1998 he was inducted into the Latin Music Hall of Fame.

Celia Cruz (1925-2003)

Úrsula Hilaria Celia Caridad Cruz Alfonso, better known as Celia Cruz, was a Cuban singer, the most popular of her country’s music. She is nicknamed «The Queen of Salsa».

Cheo Feliciano (1935-2014)

Born in Puerto Rico, Feliciano was one of the original members of the Fania All-Stars. He tragically passed away in a car accident in his native Puerto Rico.

Oscar D’Leon (1943-)

Venezuelan salsa player, author of classic salsa songs such as you will cry, published in 1975 when it belonged to the group La Dimensión Latina. In addition to being a vocalist, D’León is an outstanding double bass player.

Joe Brook (1955-2011)

An artist of Colombian origin, Arroyo is considered one of the biggest salsa stars in his country. He was awarded a posthumous Grammy for his career in 2011.

Gilberto Santa Rosa (1962-)

Also known as ‘the gentleman of salsa’, this Puerto Rican musician has excelled in the sub-genre of romantic salsa.

He has participated as a judge in the reality show The Voice in its Colombian version for two seasons.

Eddie Santiago (1955-)

Salsa singer born in Puerto Rico and popularly known as ‘the king of romantic salsa’.

In the beginning, she was a backing vocalist for several singers before starting her solo career in the 1980s.

Andy Montanez (1942-)

Andrés Montañez Rodríguez, better known by his stage name Andy Montañez, is a Puerto Rican salsa singer-songwriter, known nationally and internationally as «el godfather of the sauce”.

Charlie Aponte (1951-)

Carlos Juan Aponte Cruz, better known as Charlie Aponte, is one of the best-known soneros for his debut in El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, where he came to replace Pellín Rodríguez in 1973.

Frankie Ruiz (1958-1998)

An American singer of Puerto Rican descent, Ruiz was nicknamed «the dad of salsa.» He died at age 40 from liver complications. His influence on other salsa musicians is important and he continues to receive constant posthumous tributes to this day.

Ismael Miranda (1950-)

This Puerto Rican musician began his career very young and at the age of 11 he was already part of several vocal groups. He continues to perform today and is also called «the pretty boy of salsa.»

Pete «The Count» Rodriguez (1933-2000)

Born in Puerto Rico, he was one of the original members of the Fania All-Stars before launching his successful solo career with his debut album. Count.

Luis Enrique (1962-)

Known as «the prince of salsa,» this Nicaraguan-born artist is a contemporary figure of the genre. He currently works as a judge on the reality show The Voice in its Peruvian version.

Victor Manuelle (1970-)

Born in New York, of Puerto Rican descent, he was discovered by Gilberto Santa Rosa before launching his career in the salsa romántica sub-genre.

Santiago Ceron (1940-2011)

Santiago Cerón was a Dominican singer, musician and composer. He was one of the first Dominican singers to achieve international projection, especially in the Latin music scene in New York.

Bobby Cruz (1937-)

Robert Cruz Ramos, better known as Bobby Cruz, is a salsa singer and evangelical pastor. With pianist Richie Ray he formed a salsa group that has won two Congo de Oro awards: the Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz Orchestra.

Maelo Ruiz (1966-)

An American singer of Puerto Rican descent, Ruiz began his career as a vocalist for the group Pedro Conga y su Orquesta Internacional. His solo career since 1994 has earned him multiple awards.

Ismael Rivera (1931-1987)

Ismael Rivera, simply known as Maelo, «El Sonero Mayor de Puerto Rico» and also as «El Brujo de Borinquen», was a Puerto Rican salsa singer. In the 70’s he was part of the Fania All-Stars.

Jerry Rivera (1973-)

Born in Puerto Rico, he has specialized in romantic or erotic salsa. He is known as «the boy of salsa».

Tito Nieves (1958-)

This Puerto Rican-born salsa singer is nicknamed «the Pavarotti of salsa.» He began his career as a member of the Héctor Lavoe orchestra. He launched his solo career in 1987, originally recording salsa in English.

José Alberto “El Canario” (1958-)

He was born in the Dominican Republic, but developed his career in Puerto Rico, a country he arrived at at the age of 7. He is one of the pioneers of the so-called romantic sauce and received the nickname «el Canario» from his fans during the 1990s.

Galy Galiano (1958-)

Colombian singer, interpreter of romantic salsa and other tropical genres. He stands out for having been the first artist born in Colombia to appear on the Billboard chart with three songs simultaneously.

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