Spanish word of the week: salsa

salsa NOUN sauce; salsa

Salsa is the basic word for sauce or gravy:

una salsa de tomate a tomato sauce
Eche la salsa sobre la carne. Pour the sauce over the meat.

You’re just as likely to come across it referring to salsa, the dance.

cómo bailar salsa how to dance salsa

Originally from Latin America, this style of music includes many different rhythms and melodies, from mambo to rumba to chachachá. What they all have in common is that the rhythm is essentially Afro-Caribbean.

Some people claim that the name comes from a Cuban song – Échale salsita (Put some sauce on it) – which mentioned the songwriter’s favourite type of sausage, which needed some sauce on it!

The term really took off when a New York record company marketed it in the sixties as a way of describing a popular style of Latino dancing. It is now, of course, a worldwide phenomenon.

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