Highlight denotes Black author or source | Highly recommended ︎


Salsa, merengue, bachata, bugalú or “boogaloo,” and more
Origins: 20th century.

Curator’s Note: The term “música tropical” is a music industry creation, originally developed to market commercial music from the Spanish-speaking Caribbean to Western audiences in the 1940s. Inevitably, there are some issues with this; many of the following resources are useful in understanding why.


  • The Book of Salsa: A Chronicle of Urban Music from the Caribbean to New York City by César Miguel Rondón, 1978 . ︎

  • Salsiology: Afro Cuban Music And The Evolution Of Salsa In New York City by Vernon W. Boggs, 1992.

  • Bachata: A Social History of a Dominican Popular Music by Deborah Pacini, 1995. ︎

  • Merengue : Dominican Music and Dominican Identity by Paul Austerlitz and Robert Farris Thompson, 1997.

  • Salsa, Sabor y Control! Sociologia de La Musica Tropical by Angel G. Quintero Rivera, 1998.

  • Musica!: Salsa, Rumba, Merengue, and More by Sue Steward, Willie Colon, 1999.

  • Listening to Salsa: Gender, Latin Popular Music, and Puerto Rican Cultures by Frances R. Aparicio, 1998. ︎

  • Situating Salsa: Global Markets and Local Meanings in Latin Popular Music ed. by Lise Waxer, 2002.

  • Tigers of a Different Stripe: Performing Gender in Dominican Music by Sydney Hutchinson, 2016.

  • Salsa Rising: New York Latin Music of the Sixties Generation by Juan Flores, 2016.




  • “Social Identity and Class in ‘Bachata,’ an Emerging Dominican Popular Music” by Deborah Pacini Hernandez, Latin American Music Review, Vol. 10, No. 1, 1989.

  • “Cantando la cama vacía: Love, Sexuality and Gender Relationships in Dominican bachata” by Deborah Pacini Hernandez, Popular Music Popular Music, Vol. 9, No. 3. 1990.

  • “Bachata: From the Margins to the Mainstream” by Deborah Pacini Hernandez, Popular Music Popular Music, Vol. 11, No. 3, Oct., 1992.

  • “Merengue Típico in Santiago and New York: Transnational Regionalism in a Neo-Traditional Dominican Music” by Sydney Hutchinson, Ethnomusicology,Vol. 50, No. 1, 2006.

  • “Urban Bachata and Dominican Racial Identity in New York” by Deborah Pacini, Hernandez Cahiers d'Études Africaines, Vol. 54, Cahier 216, 2014.

  • “Queerengue: Afro-dominicanidad y performance en el merengue callejero del Rey Tulile” by Omaris Zamora, 2015.

  • “Religion on the dance floor: Afro-Dominican music and ritual from altars to clubs” by Angelina Tallaj in Civilisations, Volume 67, Issue 1, January 2018.