Unit 4: Salsa with Gino

Melody now takes us on a journey from the Trustees Theater to Charleston, South Carolina to meet our next artist, Gino. Use SG29–31 to meet Gino and prepare your students to learn about salsa.

Genre Overview

Salsa is the name given to Afro-Cuban dance music as it is played in the United States. The Spanish word salsa means “sauce” and was used in Cuba as an exclamation (“Salsa!”) when something exciting was played in music. Though the music originated in Cuba, the infusion of jazz harmony, arranging techniques, and improvisation, as well as the influence of the Puerto Rican community in America, came together to give salsa its distinct sabor (or “flavor”). Salsa rose to prominence in Cuban and Puerto Rican communities in the United States beginning in the 1950s, and today is still one of the most popular genres of Latin American music around the world.

Learn more!


Listening & Viewing:

  • Willie Colón and Rubén Blades, Siembra (Fania Records)
  • Celia Cruz & Johnny Pacheco, Celia y Johnny (Fania Records)
  • Fania All-Stars, Live at the Cheetah, Vol. 1 (Fania Records)
  • Héctor Lavoe, La Voz (Fania Records)
  • Eddie Palmieri, Vamanos pa’l Monte (Tico)
  • Tito Puente, Dance Mania (RCA)
  • Sesame Street has had guest appearances by salsa artists Tito Puente and Celia Cruz, and even aired an episode where Elmo prepares for a salsa party by learning to salsa (Episode 3917).

Additional Teaching Resources:

PDF Downloads

SG29 ↓ Download File

SG30 ↓ Download File

SG31 ↓ Download File


Go to Lesson 1: Learning “El Manisero”