Unit 3: Salsa with Gino
Melody now takes us on a journey from Bloomingdale, Georgia to Charleston, South Carolina to meet our next singer, Gino. Use SG20, SG21, and SG22 to meet Gino and prepare your students to learn about salsa.
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.
Meet Gino Castillo
My name is Gino, and I live in Charleston, South Carolina, where I make music with my band the Cuban Cowboys. Even though I grew up in the South American country of Ecuador, I play music that comes from Cuba—salsa!
I lead my band from behind the congas—large drums that you will see for yourself at our concert this spring. Make sure you wear the right shoes—salsa is music for dancing!
Students learn to clap a basic clave pattern and sing the chorus of “El Manisero.”
Go to Lesson 1: Learning “El Manisero” →
Students learn to identify salsa instrumental patterns in “Vamanos pa’l Monte.”
Go to Lesson 2: Exploring “Vamanos pa’l Monte” →
- Celia Cruz with Ana Maria Reymundo, Celia: My Life/Celia: Mi Vida
- Leonardo Padura Fuentes, Faces of Salsa: A Spoken History of the Music
- Oscar Hijuelos, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love line break line break line break
- 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:
- Georgia Public Broadcasting: Teach Young Children Spanish with Salsa!
- “Teaching with Freddie the Frog: Salsa Steps for Kids” and “The Salsa Kids Slide” are good introductory videos for kids to learn salsa dancing.
- Pete Nater’s Salsa Legends and Masters Academy is a resource for trivia and history about salsa.
Unit 3: PDF Downloads
SG20 – Let’s Explore Salsa! ↓ Download File
SG21 – Meet Gino ↓ Download File
SG22 – We Asked Gino… ↓ Download File
SG23 – Learn the Clave Pattern↓ Download File
SG24 – Match the Salsa Pattern ↓ Download File
Unit 3: Audio Tracks
Track 11 – El Manisero (Coro 1 Pronunciation)
Track 12 – El Manisero (Coro 1)
Track 13 – El Manisero (Coro 2 Pronunciation)
Track 14 – El Manisero (Coro 2)
Track 15 – Bistec Chuleta Clave Rhythm
Track 16 – Clave Rhythm
Track 17 – Vamanos pa’l Monte
Track 18 – Vamanos pa’l Monte (Coro 1 Pronunciation)
Track 19 – Vamanos pa’l Monte (Coro 1)
Track 20 – Vamanos pa’l Monte (Coro 2 Pronunciation)
Track 21 – Vamanos pa’l Monte (Coro 2)
Track 22 – Guajeo (Piano)
Track 23 – Cascara (Timbales)
Track 24 – Tumbao (Bass)
Track 25 – Clave (Claves)