If you missed part 1, here’s the link: History of “El Son” part 1. In part 2 of this seminar/presentation, a Salsa Legends And Masters Academy exclusive, musicologist, Benjamin Lapidus, talks about some interesting and possibly controversial findings he came across in his research, that suggest that some significant elements of the roots of the music we now call Salsa, came from somewhere else in the Caribbean, other than Cuba. You will be surprised, I guarantee it.
Here are Ben’s credentials, which are very impressive.
A double-degree graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and Oberlin College, Ben earned his Ph.D. in Music at the CUNY Graduate Center. As a scholar, he has presented and published a book Origins of Cuban Popular Music and Dance: Changüí (Scarecrow 2008) as well as several papers, articles, and book chapters on his research at national and international conferences and in peer-reviewed journals and books. Lapidus is an associate professor of music at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY and is also on the Doctoral Faculty of the CUNY Graduate Center. In 2013 he received an award from The National Endowment for the Humanities to complete his current research project and book, “The Sound of Nueva York: How American City and it’s Residents Shaped an International Sound from 1940-1990.” He has taught courses in the CUNY system on world music, popular music of the Caribbean, and Latino and Caribbean music in New York, as well as in the Jazz and Contemporary Music program at The New School University.
Additionally, Benjamin Lapidus is a musician, scholar, and educator who has performed and recorded (Cuban tres, guitar, and Puerto Rican cuatro) throughout the world on stage, television, film, theater and video game soundtracks with a who’s who of musicians in both the jazz and Latin worlds such as Ruben Blades, Bobby Carcassés, Paquito D’Rivera, Larry Harlow, Típica 73, Andy and Jerry Gónzalez, Cándido Camero, Bobby Sanabria, Ralph Irizarry, Bill Santiago, Luis Marín, Humberto Ramírez, Juan Pablo Torres and numerous members of the Buena Vista Social Club, Chico Álvarez, Alfredo “Chocolate” Armenteros, José Fajardo, John Benítez, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Brian Lynch, Joe McPhee, Oren Bloedow & Jennifer Charles and Roberto Rodríguez.
Lapidus frequently gives performance masterclasses and scholarly presentations on the history and development of Jazz, Latin Jazz, Latin American, and Caribbean music at the elementary, secondary, and university levels at home and abroad. Some distinguished presentations were under the auspices of the Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert Series, the Smithsonian Institution, El Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico, and the Instituto de Cultura y Arte (Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic). On numerous occasions Lapidus served as scholar-in-residence with the Jewish Museum Cuba Travel Program and he has also traveled to Cuba as scholar-in-residence with the New York Center For Jungian Studies.
Here’s the video of part 2. We welcome your thoughts, comments and opinions. We also ask that you share this with your friends who might be interested to learn more about the history of this music. Let’s keep it alive. Thanks
By Pete Nater