Salsa Celtica – Latin Music from Scotland

Latin Dance Tracks for March

Song (iTunes)




Descarga Gaélica – The Tall Islands Salsa Celtica Salsa Fusion Scotland
Yo Me Voy II – The Tall Islands Salsa Celtica Salsa Fusion Scotland
Ven Guajira Ven – The Tall Islands Salsa Celtica Cha Cha Fusion Scotland
Esperanza – El Camino Salsa Celtica Cha Cha Funsion Scotland
Maestro – El Agua de la Vida Salsa Celtica Salsa Fusion Scotland
Pa’l Rumberos – El Camino Salsa Celtica Salsa Fusion Scotland
Chica Mala – Cubaneo Pedrito Calvo JR & Su Orquesta Timba Cuba
Claro Que Te Amo – Latin Hits 2014 Club Edition Yoskar Sarante Bachata D. Republic
Darte un Beso (Merengue Version) – Darte un Beso – Single El Combo Dominicano Merengue D. Republic
Ne t’en va pas – Ne t’en vas pas – Single KIM & Marvin Zouk



The Tall Islands – New Music from Salsa Celtica

Scotland, the home of haggis, scotch, highland dancing and great Latin music?  This small country that makes up the top part of the United Kingdom is very near the bottom of the list of locations that I associate with Latin music and yet it is home to one of the most unique and exciting groups in Latin music today, Salsa Celtica.  The origins of Salsa Celtica go back to 1995 when a handful of young musicians got together in Edinburgh, Scotland with the intent of reinventing Celtic music by fusing it with global rhythms.  The result of these ‘jam sessions’ was the birth of a band that would be dedicated to making original salsa with a Scottish tinge.  Within two years Salsa Celtica had released their first album Monstruos y Demonios and shortly there after were performing their unique style of world music in the village halls of Scotland’s Highlands and at Jazz and Celtic festivals around the UK.

That was 17 years ago and since that time Salsa Celtica has released 4 more albums and has toured the world performing concerts attended by hundreds and sometimes even thousands of fans.   However, it has been 8 long years since we have heard anything new from this amazing group.  That all changed this year with the release of their 5th album, The Tall Islands.  Not surprisingly, the album is built on the collective Celtic and Latin roots of the group’s 17 members whose origins include Scotland, Cuba, Ireland, Argentina and England.   And what inspired Salsa Celtica to write and record new music after an eight year hiatus?    Apparently, nothing more than a short tour of the Scottish islands as well as a unique experience headlining a salsa carnival in the Canary Islands (notice the island theme).

If you head over to the Salsa Celtica website you’ll find that they describe The Tall Islands as an album that is more appropriate for listening to than for filling a dance floor.  After having listened to it a few times myself I have to disagree.  I can see how some of the songs may be more suited for enjoying in the comfort of your home but, in my humble opinion, The Tall Islands definitely has it’s fair share of dance floor filling, celtic soaked, Latin music goodness.  You can listen to a very season appropriate track above and I have included a few of the tracks that I  consider to be very dancable in this months’ play list.  Check them out and see if they don’t get your feet moving.

Questions, comments, requests? Send me an email



MPop – Merengue for the Masses

February Playlist Highlights






Un Monton de Estrallas Un Monton de Estrellas - Guajiro Natural Polo Montañez Salsa Cuba
El Maraquero El Maraquero - La Timba Soy Yo Soneros All Stars Salsa Cuba
Identidad Identidad - Beginner's Guide To Timba Azucar Negra Salsa Cuba
El Mas Rico Beso Guayacán Orquesta Salsa Colombia
En Mi Puertorro Andy Montañez y Julio Voltio Salsa Puerto Rico
Indestructible Indestructible - Indestructible Ray Barretto Salsa USA
Vicio Del Pecado RKM and Ken-Y Bachata Dominican Republic
Entre Tu Amor Y Mi Dolor Entre Tu Amor y Mi Dolor - 2 Grandes de la Bachata, Vol. 3 Yoskar Sarante Bachata Dominican Republic
Ya No Toy Pà Eso Ya No Toy Pa' Eso - Hecho en el Patio Ilegales Merengue Electronico (MPop) Dominican Republic
Bailando Por El Mundo Bailando por el Mundo - The King of Dance Juan Magan ft Pitbull y El Cata Merengue Electronico (MPop) Spain / USA
Mueve la Cadera Proyecto Uno, Reel-to-Real Meren-rap (MPop) Dominican Republic / USA


What is MPop?

Originating in rural areas of the Dominican Republic, merengue (which literally translates into whipped eggs or meringue) is a musical style that dates back to the late 1800’s.  In its most basic form, it is made from a collection of 4 instruments; a tambora drum, güira, and marimba box bass for rhythm and either a guitar, banjo or button accordion for the melody.  This simple country music gained popularity over the years and was raised to a level of national importance when it was made the official dance music of the Dominican Republic by General Rafael Trujillo, president/dictator from 1930 to 1961.  Merengue music is built on a 2/4 rhythm, which makes it very easy to dance to.  General Trujillo apparently had two left feet so this easily identifiable beat worked well with his limited dancing abilities.  It’s worth repeating that this simple rhythm is very easy to hear even for people new to Latin dance.  If you want your non-dance friends to enjoy themselves at a Latin club, introduce them to merengue.

Is the traditional form of merengue still around today?  Probably, and while I suspect that you would find it alive and well in many rural areas of the Dominican Republic, when it comes to merengue in an urban setting, the music has evolved.  Artists like Juan Luis Guerra, Elvis Crespo and Olga Tañón have modernized the genre making it accessible to a wider audience.  Not only has merengue been modernized but it has also been “popularized” and this is where the term MPop comes in.

MPop is a catch phrase I use to describe merengue influenced popular music.  This would include such fusions as merengueton, meren-rap, techno-rengue, and merengue electronico.  The fusing of genres happens with many popular musical styles but seems to be especially common with merengue.  The merengue 2/4 rhythm lends itself so well to being blended.  Take the song La Despedida by reggaeton artist Daddy Yankee as an example.  The song has elements of mainstream reggaeton but at its core is a basic 2/4 merengue rhythm.  That rhythm makes the song easy to listen to and easy to dance to and I don’t mean that as a criticism.  I’m a fan of catchy, danceable MPop in general and La Despedida is a great example of it.

I’ve included a few more MPop examples in this month’s play list, one of which dates back to the late 90’s.  It’s juicy meren-rap by the great House/Reggae band, Reel to Real and meren-rap group Projecto Uno.  Unfortunately, Reel to Real isn’t around anymore but Projecto Uno’s Magic Juan is.  You can find one of his MPop songs in January’s blog post.

Comments, questions or music requests?  Send me an email.

Hasta la próxima