Cuban Cousins, Vive Dominica, Birth Of Bachata

It is always appropriate to discuss anything in the realm of salsa in the context of things coming together. The term ‘salsa’ is often used as a generalization referring to several specific and distinct Latin dance styles and musical forms including bachata, merengue, reggaeton and salsa. Even these individual dances have aggregate roots. For example, the bachata is characterized audibly by its especially rapid and hypnotic guitar runs. The dance it invokes is often characterized by a quick flick of the hip before changes in direction. The strong pathos of bachata lyrics is explained by the fact that it wasn’t initially viewed as danceable music and even now dancers encountering the sound of bachata for the first time are often at a loss as to how to move to it. In a different musical era (the 1960’s) when nightspots were being bombarded with all things Cuban, bachata fought to distinguish itself as a romantic music instead of just another guitar-driven dance form like the guaracha its close Cuban cousin. As it turns out guaracha has all but vanished from popular dance floors except through its unmistakable similarities to bachata. But to be accurate I must mention that bachata is also a collection of rhythms and melodic tendencies found in Mexican rancheros, Puerto Rican plena and the Dominican merengue as well. The is attributed with having spawned the music to begin with. The term Bachata translates to a variation of fun, merriment, or spree and was used as the name for parties and gatherings with family, friends and live music. Since then Bachata has endured several changes in the social climate of its homeland. Its lyrical content widened to include what some might list as the negative aspects of today’s pop, and hip-hop but there is never a lack of deeply sentimental romantic tracks to balance it out. Even musically, the bachata has changed with the times. Its most notable innovation was made popular by an artist named Blas Durán in the mid 1980’s who introduced bachata to the electro acoustic guitar and vice versa. Bachata is without a doubt the most intimate of the dances I’ll discuss. It is avidly enjoyed by endearing couples and connoisseurs of synchronized hip movement worldwide.

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