Bachata Roja: Acoustic Bachata from the Cabaret Era

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By ANGELA SAWYER  |  December 10, 2007
3.5 3.5 Stars
inside_BACHATA-ROJA---ACOUS
The bachata genre comes from the Dominican Republic, and since the 1980s it has become a globally popular party music. This 14-track disc explores the style’s roots from the early 1960s to the late ’70s, when it was still the sound of the shantytowns of Santo Domingo. Bachata features dizzying, layered lines on Spanish acoustic guitars, the jovial roll of bongos, and quivering vocals. Mixing some of the slathering sentimentality of bolero lyrics, Cuban guajira, Puerto Rican jíbaro, and Mexican corrido, bachata was often performed on homemade instruments built with trash cans and fence parts. A grass-roots network without benefit of media support coalesced around a few singers, who played the seediest bars but expressed unadorned pain, drunkenness, and melancholy. And so the high skittering speed of the guitar line that begins Augusto Santos’s “Si me la dan la cojo” drives the lyric idea that the singer might be crippled while stumbling around with loose girls. Bachata eventually grew across political and class lines. As drum machines and electric guitars infiltrated, it became part of the canon of Latin music. Here’s your chance to discover the erased rural past before bachata entered the mainstream.
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  •   ARABESQUE  |  February 26, 2008
    It’s a performance powerful enough to transport you to another era.
  •   BACHATA ROJA: ACOUSTIC BACHATA FROM THE CABARET ERA  |  December 10, 2007
    The bachata genre comes from the Dominican Republic, and since the 1980s it has become a globally popular party music.

 See all articles by: ANGELA SAWYER