Difference between salsa and timba?

Discussion in 'Salsa Music' started by El Conguero, Jul 30, 2010.

  1. zoignk

    zoignk Changui

    Here is great explanation of difference between salsa and timba (from 7:10). I think these books and videos are real treasure for everyone who wants to enter in musical understanding of timba, salsa and all other genres of Cuban and other types of Latin music.

    wol, cachondea and timberamayor like this.
  2. Papi

    Papi Changui

    I am well-aware of this particular explanation (and I think it is one of the best examples), I just believe it may be easier to give a much simpler guidelide to absolute beginners, to whom most songs simply sound like "latin music" and have no idea how to extract the contracampana from the mix :)

  3. zoignk

    zoignk Changui

    I think that absolute beginners should not bother with difference between salsa and timba, because they should learn to recognize basic patterns used in both genres. But if they want to learn it, they have lot of answers here :)
    Marcos likes this.
  4. LarsM

    LarsM Nuevo Ritmo

    Just found this thread and read through it - very interesting. Even though this post is very old thought I'd reply :)

    I actively hate most timba simply because I'm exposed to it far too much at salsa parties in my city, where the music is an equal mix of timba and salsa. There are exceptions, but the most aggressive and newer timba just makes my ears bleed and my heart pound with hatred, lol. And it's not because of the noise, I used to and still listen to really aggressive metal like Meshuggah. Video for reference:

    I just actively, and I mean actively, dislike almost everything about timba. The piano in particular drives me insane.

    If I weren't exposed to it far too frequently it would go in the "music I think sucks but never spare a thought" like e.g. most country, commercial EDM, crappy pop etc.
  5. Tomm

    Tomm Tumbao

    I love meshuggah !
  6. LarsM

    LarsM Nuevo Ritmo

    Who doesn't! :D:D
  7. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'El Diferente' Canales

    Never heard of the band in the video.

    And i love the piano in particular. It was the first thing that drove me to timba.
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    MAMBO_CEC Sabor Ambassador

    Apparently none: The Great Roberto Roena getting his timba on.

    One thing though New Yorkers......well lets say timba is not their forte...some interesting dancing to this song.
  9. Sabrosura

    Sabrosura Maestro 'Sonero' Lavoe

    Umm most people dancing in that video are not NYers :p
  10. LarsM

    LarsM Nuevo Ritmo

    I'm not surprised, since it's very distinctive. For the record I acknowledge that the timba musicians know their stuff. And in http://www.salsaforums.com/threads/timba-for-on1-on2-dancers.28444/ I did like some of the songs! Not surprisingly they fall into the more melodious genre of timba.
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  11. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'El Diferente' Canales

    well there are many timberos that also don't like the current style of timbaton that Charanga Habanera has turned to. So I expect that some of what you are hearing a lot of I am not a fan of either, although I can probably tolerate it better than you :)
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    MAMBO_CEC Sabor Ambassador

    Not siutable for kids are if you're allergic to cursing/swearing
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  13. Marcos

    Marcos Son Montuno


    I highly recommend for you the book "Sounding Salsa" to get a better understanding of the New York scene and the corruption that rotted the core of salsa.

    I am a 38 year old Puertorican who likes both salsa and timba. What I remember growing up is that salsa went from being "band centric" to "solo singer centric" as the salsa romantica exploded and came to dominate the salsa scene. I believe this is in large part to the idea of being able to take the singer on tour to any country in Latinoamerica and use a local band to back them to avoid the cost of bringing the whole band as you have to do to pull off a more aggressive, synchronized, and polished sound of the Fania era salsa bands; which then funnels more money to the multinational conglomerate's executives.

    The lack of a voice for my generation's issues in the salsa of 80s and 90s created a vacuum that was filled by rappers. At this same time Jamaican dancehall was popular with our generation, El General from Panama came in with bit hits, and reggaeton was formed. The salsa dura bands that actually tried to talk to my generation got almost no airplay from radio DJs, regardless of how much better La Excelencia sounded to the Sony Marc Anthony release of the same year. So the feedback leads to less and less salsa dura, unfortunately.

    Timba, due to different socioeconomic conditions in Cuba, has been able to maintain a "band centric" scene, and keep young musicians engaged. It's to be expected that these young musicians will do wild and creative things, and that's what I like about Timba. Salsa had that, but it's gone now. I highly recommend Willie Colon's "El Juicio", particularly the track "Timbalero". You'll hear a salsa band capable of doing breaks, chorus changes, and rhythmic changes to the same complexity level as a good Timba band; and this was recorded in 1970. There is probably only a handful of salsa bands today could pull off a new track with that complexity, and none that could make it popular in the latin music charts.
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  14. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'El Diferente' Canales

    We do see a bit of the tour with a local band happening for example Issac Delgado will tour with a band of musicians from Europe rather than bringing his own band. But so far most of the bands are still intact, which is great. Thanks for the book suggestion. I'll look it up.

    This is from a concert a few years ago with a band based in Spain.
  15. Marcos

    Marcos Son Montuno


    Another interesting fact is that in spite of how much the salsa purists dislike timba, there appears to be significant amount of their favorite musicians who like it and are influenced by it. Take the group Los Hacheros for example, who some of the salsa purists here thought was the best thing in 2016. Their track Timbalaye starts out "Timbalaye, yo soy latinoafricano". If that sounds familiar to you it's because it's from Tirso Duarte's Fin del Juego album, I think from "Yo soy tu papi", but I might be wrong. Additionally they have also covered "La Bomba soy Yo" and "Azucar" from Los Van Van/ Los que Son Son.

    Papo Luca from Sonora Ponceña has covered a good amount of songs from Adalverto Alvarez, they've quote Van Van at their concerts, and he has utilized timba piano techniques at times. When Victor Manuelle first came out his band was coached to sound more like timba, and if you listen to Marc Anthony's "que precio tiene el cielo" you'll hear traces of timba in the montuno. More recently the Puertorican band Pirulo y la Tribu also use some timba techniques.

    Even during the 80s/90s when access to the Cuban market was more limited there were Puertorican bands using Cuban techniques such as Zaperoko and Batacumbele.

    You will also find the inverse to be true. Listen to "Sarandonga" in Septeto Santiaguero's Tributo a los Compadres album. That track is a Puertorican bomba on the style that Ismael Rivera pioneered decades ago.

    To me purists on either side sound like what the old Kung Fu guys who would talk crap about Bruce Lee when he created his own style which translated to "use what works", truly the first MMA. Just like Bruce Lee did with martial arts I want musicians that will use what works regardless of origin to create new, original, and interesting music.
  16. arsenio123

    arsenio123 Son Montuno


    You are well informed, and you made an excellent analysis. The main difference musically is the amount of montuno and mambo sections, and the source of guajeos, riffs and tumbaos. In the old NY salsa of the 1960s and 1970s they use less sections and the guajeos, tumbaos and riffs do come from traditional Cuban rumba (yambu, guaguanco, columbia), played in the NY Streets by Puertoricans and Cubans.

    In Timba there are more montuno and mambo sections and the source of the guajeos, riffs and tumbaos are mainly the Iyesa, batà drums and bembé, their different rhythms, cowbell and chekere patterns. This started already with Irakere, later on there is a mixing of both!

    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
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  17. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    Another main difference is that timba has a lot of influence from late 80s US funk i.e. the slap bass (that many of us find torturous). Also it takes a lot from hip hop i.e. the aggressive vocal style.
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  18. timberamayor

    timberamayor Maestro 'El Diferente' Canales

    Yes, I think the purists tend to be more among dancers than musicians. Musicians appreciate music in general and are interested in what other musicians are doing. And don't forget that the percussion part of the bomba gear used so much in Cuba was developed from Puerto Rican bomba. Fania has done Van Van tributes and Cuban bands have done Fania tributes. I think Adalberto has been covered by many artists and Manolito and Andy Montañez are good friends and have done a "mixed" version of Locos por mi Habana/En mi Puertorro when they performed together. I suppose you already know all of this :)

    Did you see the video of Pirulo & Havana D'Primera?
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  19. arsenio123

    arsenio123 Son Montuno


    I see a lot of mixing and resemblance and good contacts between the musicians in Cuba and New York as you mentioned. At the same time you get all those balroom teachers inventing so called New Styles to the same music and trying to make money with is, a kind of dance industry.

    There is somebody here who thinks he knows timba and funk, if you play tumbaos from the tumbadora of rumba guaguanco on a bass, you have funk! So in Son and NY Salsa they used tumbaos from rumba guaguanco for the bass, they call it 'the anticipated bass' in NY Salsa it is coming from Arsenio Rodriguez. This was copied by rock artists in New York, and Juan Formell, bassplayer of Los Van Van, brought these basslines (tumbaos) back in Timba music, also using different tumbaos from i.e. the IYA drum on bass!

  20. DJ Yuca

    DJ Yuca El Sabroso de Conguero

    Yet another history lesson that bears little resemblance to reality.

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