What about the music?

Posted by Richard on 19th April 2017

In the minds of many, music defines the experience when they go dancing, and the music at StreetSalsa has always been unique. There's a whole range of differing opinions on what the 'best' music is for dancing, and whilst our sets may seem eclectic, the combined collections of our DJs have been curated over the years with a lot of thought. Our sets have had input from our whole team with hugely diverse tastes. I've gotten into fiercely heated debates with people who are passionate about all types of music, for loads of different reasons and my thoughts have evolved a lot over time.

Live and Let Dance

Whilst I have my own opinions and tastes on music specifically for dancing, my overall philosophy on the subject has been to "live and let dance". That is to say, the best music to dance to is the music you most enjoy dancing to, and you shouldn't let anyone tell you otherwise. The debate is most heated when the argument is about dancing salsa to salsa music. Quite often, I've heard the exact same point being made on both sides of the fence. People trying to give objective reasons why one is better, for something which is an inherently subjective experience. I'm not here to make the case for either, I'm here to give you a night with a reasonable mix of styles and most importantly some playlists.

Pure Salsa

People accuse me of hating on salsa music. They could not be more wrong. I've spent literally thousands of pounds on my music collection in the past 6 years and over three-quarters of that can be attributed to salsa.

My Old Top 40

Links: Spotify | YouTube 

A few years ago I wanted to put together a playlist of (mostly) salsa songs which I hoped I could be enjoying years later. Whilst there are certainly loads I'd want to add to this list, I know I could dance to these all night several times over and I'd still not be sick of them. I love to hear that several of my followers on this playlist still listen to it when they're getting ready for a night out on the dancefloor, or tapping their foot at their desk all day.

Stylish Salsa

Links: Spotify

This is one is relatively new from Jake. It's constantly changing and it's simply the best of pure salsa music that he's playing and dancing to right now.

The Other Side of the Fence

Whatever your reason for dancing to non-salsa music, I get it. Life's too short to be restricting yourself to one genre, and some of my best dances are to something completely different, so here are a couple more playlists.


Links: Spotify YouTube

This is another one I put together a few years ago and hopefully, the title should make this abundantly clear. You'll find no salsa music in this playlist, but it's all great for dancing. Some of it might be a little challenging, but that's all part of the fun.


Links: Spotify

Curated by Jake, this is the non-salsa music that's defined our events over the past six months. I'm sure it'll get you moving.

Too Much?

StreetSalsa Discover Weekly

Links: Spotify

If that's playlist overload for you, Jake has a music of the week playlist which has a handful of songs which we're jamming to right now. Make sure you save the ones you want, as he'll be updating this one regularly.

Guilty Pleasures

On a final note, if there's a phrase I've always wanted to eliminate, then it's so-called "Guilty Pleasures". There is no law when it comes to music, especially for dancing, and neither should there be. If you like the song, then you like it for your own reasons, and you shouldn't have to justify that. If it's your jam, then get on the dance floor and jam.

By Richard

I started Salsa in early 2012 shortly after moving to Leeds from Brighton. I started learning at a small class in Huddersfield before joining in the fun at StreetSalsa a few months later.

I'm something of an old timer now, and you can find me doing pretty much any job that needs doing every Monday at Smokestack. I'm also part of the team at Leeds University Union's Salsa Society.