Bachata History

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When you ask somebody where they from and they answer Dominican Republic, the first thing that comes to mind is the beach, spanish food, and their worldwide known music that truly identifies them: bachata. Bachata is a very popular type music, now known among all Latinos in the United States. Bachata comes from the bars and brothels of Santo Domingo and it still stands strong after more than 40 years. However, this music was not accepted in the Dominican Republic until about ten years ago. Bachata is based on the bolero rhythm. Also bachateros like Antony Santo and Juan Luis Guerra started experimenting with the guitar to advance more the sound of bachata. The Dominican Republic always had guitar music. Although the person that put it on the map for others to see was Jose Manuel Calderon in 1961. After some time, bachata started associating with the world of prostitution, poverty and delinquency. This mainly because of the “conflicts within Dominican society around poverty and wealth, tradition and modernity, as well as genuine bad faith on the part of other elements in the music industry.” Only one radio station would play bachata in the whole island and Bachateros were also barred from performing in high society venues. They would only perform in bars. The reason people did not like bachata was because of their subject. They used talk about the barrio, for example of the prostitutes and their lovers. They used slang and very sexual vocabulary. The music was influenced by its surroundings like sex, despair and crime. Bachata was a very free and liberal way to express feelings from 1970 to 1990.

The typical bachata group consists of five instruments: lead guitar, rhythm guitar, electric bass guitar, bongos and güira. The rhythm guitar is also known as a Segunda and serves the purpose of adding syncopation to the music. Bachata groups mainly play an evolved style of bolero, but when they change to merengue based bachata, the percussionist will switch from...
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