Salsa del Norte

Michael McSweeney founded Salsa del Norte in 2016 along with a handful of other musicians at Northern Illinois University, and since then he has acted as Bandleader and Manager of the band by overseeing marketing, communications, booking, finances, and other administrative responsibilities in addition to being the band’s drummer/timbalero.

Check out Salsa del Norte’s recently released album, Lienzos, and learn more about the band by visiting


Based out of DeKalb, Illinois, Salsa del Norte was founded in August 2016 by Michael McSweeney, who was a graduate student at Northern Illinois University at the time and was actively looking for an outlet for this style of music. Fortunately, there was almost an entire rhythm section who was also interested in putting their studies of and/or interest in popular Afro-Cuban music to practical use, including current percussionist Raychel Taylor among others. Next thing they knew, the group was starting to take form as more and more talented musicians came along, eventually filling out the rest of the rhythm and horn sections until the group was not only complete but creating great chemistry. Since their inception, Salsa del Norte has seen some changeover in membership, but the unwavering dedication of four founding members (Michael McSweeney, Raychel Taylor, Allen Mendez, and Josh Nuss) in addition to the same dedication from newer members (Braden Astorga-Rollins, José Piedra, Felipe Fernández, Tom Hartnett, and Jorge Brito) powers the group forward with more drive than ever.

To date, the band has taken influence from wide variety of Latin American artists, including Ray Barretto, Tito Puente, Hector Lavoe, Willie Colón, Celia Cruz, Marc Anthony, Santana, Pedrito Martinez, and more. In November 2016, they had their first public performance at the Rebel Music Conference at Northern Illinois University, and now they have been hosting Salsa Nights at The House Cafe in DeKalb, Illinois since January 2017 in addition to various invitations for private and public events in and around Chicago and its suburbs including Two Brothers Roundhouse in Aurora, Honky Tonk BBQ in Pilsen, Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, and more.