Welcome back to our series on exploring Latin culture and language through music! Our aim is to keep our readers in-the-know with the phenomenon of Latin music as it continues to dominate the world’s music scene! Today’s topic is all about bachata, salsa’s sensual Caribbean cousin.
In today’s article, we dive into:
- Rich bachata history & must-know bachata facts
- Iconic bachata artists
- AND a current & classic bachata hit playlist that will make you a casual expert on this exciting island beat!
What is Bachata Music?
Bachata is an inspirational rags to riches story for the island nation of the Dominican Republic. Today, bachata songs top billboard charts worldwide, feature influential artists like Shakira, Drake, and Usher, and even include Spanglish lyrics. So what is bachata and how is it different from salsa and reggaeton?
Regions: Dominican Republic, Caribbean
Iconic bachata artists: Prince Royce, Romeo Santos (Aventura)
Bachata History: Humble Beginnings to Sold Out Stadiums
Bachata came about officially in the 1960s following the collapse of a 30-year highly censored dictatorship in the DR by Rafael Trujillo. It started as an underground movement, which the elite openly rejected it for its urban vulgarity, so much so that they gave it the pejorative name bachata, meaning an informal unsophisticated party.
Bachata Facts: The Sensual Dance of Brothels?
In the DR, classic ballroom merengue was the choice music of the elite for decades in lounges and country clubs. Bachata was barred from being showcased in high-class venues, and as a result, quickly became influenced by the settings in which it played: rural bars and brothels in poor barrios (neighborhoods).
What is Bachata Dance?
The sexy four-step dance was infectious and alluring. Eventually, the grassroots movement of bachata caught fire and became too strong to ignore. Radio stations around the country started to respond to demand!
Bachata Moves: Dominicans in New York
The large Latino population in NYC has influenced many Latino music styles, including the coveted salsa. The Dominican group Aventura (later Romeo) made the music an international hit in the early 2000s, selling out Madison Square Garden several times.
What Differentiates Bachata From Other Latin Music?
Quick Insider Tips!
When first becoming acquainted with different genres of Latin music, there are two valuable giveaways that differentiate them:
- Where are you hearing it, and
- Who is the artist?
Where Will I Hear Bachata Music?
Remember that bachata is Caribbean music. It’s common to hear it cruising through the Caribbean, at beach parties, or any Latin party on the coasts of the U.S. (the majority of Caribbean immigrants in the U.S. live on the East Coast, between Miami and New York.)
In Latin America, you will hear bachata mostly through Central America, the Caribbean and la Gran Colombia (Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador.) These countries are highly influenced by Caribbean culture.
Who Are Bachata Artists?
The number one giveaway is the artist: Prince Royce and Romeo (previously known as Aventura) are by far the most popular bachata singers, so pretty much any time you see their names, you know it’s bachata. Listen closely- you can’t miss their names, either. They literally shout it out in every song.
- Origin: Bachata is a Dominican music genre and sensual dance.
- Where Can I Hear It: You’ll hear it at every Latin party, on the radio in Miami, Orlando, NY and LA, and all over the Caribbean/La Gran Colombia.
- Fun Fact: It’s a true claim to fame of the DR (in addition to merengue), even though the majority of bachata music released today is produced in the U.S.!
Check Out the Hottest Bachata Hits Today!
The best way to get to know bachata is by listening to it and learning the lyrics!
- Prince Royce & Shakira- Deja Vu
- Romeo Santos ft. Drake- Odio
- Romeo Santos – Eres Mía
- Xtreme- Te Extraño
- Aventura- Un Beso
- Aventura- Por Un Segundo
- Prince Royce- Corazon Sin Cara
Get caught up on our six-part Latin Music series!
- Pimsleur’s Guide to Latin Music: Salsa
- Pimsleur’s Guide to Latin Music: Reggaeton
- Pimsleur’s Guide to Latin Music: Bachata
- Pimsleur’s Guide to Latin Music: Merengue
- Pimsleur’s Guide to Latin Music: Cumbia
- Pimsleur’s Guide to Latin Music: Latin Rock
Increase your enjoyment and understanding of Latin music by learning the language.
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