This ethnographic journey into the New York Salsa scene of the 1990s is the first of its kind. Written by a musical insider, and from the perspective of salsa musicians, Sounding Salsa is a pioneering study that offers detailed accounts of these musicians grappling with intercultural tensions and commericial pressures. Christopher Washburne, himself an accomplished salsa musician, examines the organizational structures, recording processes, rehearsing, and gigging of salsa bands, paying particular attention to how they created a sense of community, privileged "the people" over artistic and commercial concerns, and incited cultural pride during performances.
Sounding Salsa addresses a range of issues, musical and social. Musically, Washburne examines sound structure, salsa aesthetics, and performance practice, along with the influences of Puerto Rican music. Socially, he considers the roles of the illicit drug trade, gender, and violence in shaping the salsa experience. Highly readable, Sounding Salsa offers a behind-the-scenes perspective on a musical movement that became a social phenomenon.
"Christopher Washburne has drawn a fascinating portrait of salsa’s musical and business practices. As a professional trombonist for top salsa bands, he combines the intimate knowledge of an observing participant with the critical distance of scholarly analysis. I was impressed with his deft interpretation of controversial issues in studying salsa."
—Jorge Duany, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, author of The Puerto Rican Nation on the Move: Identities on the Island and in the United States
"Sounding Salsa provides an insight into the lives and experiences of salsa musicians. Washburne has done thorough research and the book is a comprehensive historical account of Salsa in New York in the 1990s."
—Patria Roman-Velazquez, City University, London
Submit Orders to:
Temple University Press
c/o Chicago Distribution Center
11030 South Langley Avenue
Chicago, IL 60628
Call toll-free 1.800.621.2736
Order Online www.temple.edu/tempress
About the Author:
Christopher Washburne is an Associate Professor of Music at Columbia University and the founder and Director of Columbia's Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program. He has recorded over 150 albums and performed with numerous Latin musicians including Toto Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Celia Cruz, Marc Anthony, and Ruben Bladés. He leads his own band SYOTOS, a popular Latin Jazz group in New York