Learn to Play Heaven by Salvador

Latin Worship Band
When I think of Christian Latin artists, I immediately think of Salvador. Yes, there are many great, rhythm rocking bands and it's difficult to chose a favorite, so I won't. But I can tell you that the song Heaven sung by Salvador and written by Los Lonely Boys is loved by many. In fact, I used this particular song on one of my biker videos. Oh yes, I am on YouTube. Who isn't these day? lol This was one of my first attempts at uploading slides with music. I've learned a lot since then. Anyways, I love this song and I hope you enjoy learning the song as well.
 Here are the chords to Heaven:
       F#                G#m7                    F#         G#m7
Sa---ve me from this prison, Lord help me to get away
         F#                  G#m7                 F#        G#m7
Cause o--nly you can save me now from this misery
          F#                  G#m7                     F#m         
And I--ve been lost in my own place, and I’m getting’ weary (how far 
is heaven)
        F#                  G#m7              F#m                 
And I-- know that I need to change my ways of livin’ (how far is 
Lord can you tell me  (Prelude)
       F#                     G#m7               F#                 
I--’ve been locked up way too long In this crazy world (how far is 
        F#                  G#m7               F#                  
And I-- just keep on prayin’ Lord Just keep on livin’ (how far is 
                     F#               G#m7 
Yeah Lord can you tell me (how far is heaven)
                            F#                 G#m7              
Cause I just got to know how far  (how far is heaven)
                       F#    G#m7                 
I just got to know how far        
   G#m7      Am7     Bbm7                     (-Emaj--Ebmin--Dbmaj--)
(Tu que estas en alto ciel—o, echame tu bendici---on)
          F#                    G#m7                     F#           
Cause I-- know there’s a better place Than this place I’m livin’ (how 
far is heaven)
        F#                    G#m7                   F# 
And I-- just got to have some faith and just keep on giving, (how far 
is heaven)
                      F#               G#m7         
Yeah Lord can you tell me (how far is heaven)
                            F#               G#m7                
Cause I just gotta know how far (how far is heaven)
                      F#               G#m7            
Yeah Lord can you tell me (how far is heaven)
                            F#     G#m7
Cause I just gotta know how far---
                       F#       G#m7
I just gotta know how far—
              F#       G#m7
Yeah hee—hee, hee 
Artist: Salvador
Copyright Credits: Written By: Los Lonely Boys Copyright: © Warner Bros
Many Latin tunes have a very simple harmony. In some cases only one or two chords. II-V progressions are very popular in salsa. As in most other II-V progressions, the seventh of the II chord resolves down a half-step to become the third of the V chord.  A montuno for a III-VI-II-V progression, you would play a C-7, F-7, Bb-7 Eb7.
Montunos can be played in tenths instead of octaves. In general, once you've started a montuno, you should not change it until a new section of the tune begins. Although the masters of the genre occasionally  alter the montuno in places, the importance of establishing a groove is paramount in Latin music, and changing the montuno breaks the groove. Remember, salsa is primarily dance music-you should play "in the pocket."
In a salsa band, each rhythm instrument-piano, bass, timbales, congas, bongos, cowbell-plays a different rhythm, and they all fit together nicely like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. The bass player's pattern is called tumbao.
Most tumbaos  accent the fourth beat of each bar, reinforcing the conga drum pattern. A great way to practice is to play the bass line with your left hand while you play the the montuno with your right hand. You wouldn't really do this in real life but for practice this is an invaluable exercise.
If you can master it, you'll probably feel a lot more comfortable in a salsa rhythm section. You should "lock in" with the bass player as much as possible since the two of you (unless there is a guitarist0 are the only harmony instruments in the rhythm section.
I admit, this rhythm is extremely challenging. I watch YouTube videos over and over and practice hard at it. IT just doesn't come natural for me. How is it for you? Here's an exercise I've broken down in 4 measures for you piano players who like salsa music:
Measure 1 = C-7 and F-7

C/Bb (single notes played together), then EbF (together)
F/A    (single notes played together), then EbF (together)
Bb (single note l.h.), then Ab (single note r.h.)
Measure 2 = Bb-7 and Eb7

DbEb (together in r.h.)
Eb/G (single notes played together), then DbEb (together)
C (single note l.h.), then Bb (single note r.h.)
Measure 3 = C-7 and F_7
Same as measure 1

Measure 4 = Bb-7 and Eb7
Same as measure 2
The note that your left hand plays on the fourth beat of each bar anticipates the chord in the next bar, showing a montuno and a tumbao in the left hand on a I-IV-V-IV.

One dvd course that I recommend is: Salsa 101
Here's a sneak peek: Salsa Piano Sound

Wishing you all the best with your piano playing,
-- LadyD

"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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