The History of Bachata

By | November 2, 2017

Bachata which literally means “party” is a dance and music style from the Dominican Republic often centered around subjects of heartbreak, romance, and loss. Equivalent to the Blues in the U.S., thematic similarities and resolution are prevalent such as loss of a love and looking for ones self at the bottom of the bottle. The main melody is predominantly played by an electric guitar, which plucks out an eight note pattern. Bachata has had much success in clubs in the last decade.

This music form had a rough and “nefarious” history. Born in the brothels and bars of the lower class, Bachata shares a common ancestry to Merengue. Conversely, while the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic, was responsible for the overwhelming success of Merengue, the government was also responsible for the censorship, denigration, and almost extinction of Bachata. Trujillo himself felt Bachata was a backwards, lower art form for country-people unfit to embolster his nation. After the Trujillo dictatorship ended, censorship feel away and bachata started to flourish again. Yet high society still resisted its influence; branding bachata as unfit and immoral for society. Irregardless Bachata was still popular amongst the countryside even as Merengue became highlighted as the Official Music of the country.

Eventually Bachata permeated through the socio-political barriers and is now a popular music style from the Dominican Republic. Pioneers like Luis Vargas and Antony Santos were part of the first generation of pop stars for bachata. One of the most popular songs in the style of Bachat is Aventura’s single “Obsesion”, which has had worldwide success.

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