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date: 13 November 2019


  • Sydney Hutchinson


Dominican musical genre and dance. Bachata developed out of earlier rural string musics, principally bolero but also son, merengue, and ranchera. The term originally applied to the informal rural parties where such music was played. In the 1960s, as peasants moved to the cities, bachata developed as part of the urban underworld and changed from a romantic serenade style to one associated with brothels and harsh lyrics. At that time, it was known as musica de amargue (bitter music) or musica de guardia (military-man music, reflecting its audience) and was widely despised for its low-class connotations and explicit double entendres, although it received heavy airplay on Santo Domingo’s Radio Guarachita.

In the 1980s Blas Durán’s experiments with electric guitar and the development of a unique dance style began to expand bachata’s audience, while the so-called technoamargue by 1990s artists like Víctor Víctor, Luis Díaz, Sonia Silvestre, and particularly Juan Luis Guerra led to its widespread acceptance across social classes. Today, ...

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