Not even regarded as a style until the 1960s, the Dominican bachata is the country's slow, romantic music genre developed in the poor and humble communities. Primarily a vocal music with guitar accompaniment, bachata emerged during the rise of the Cuban bolero in Latin America and the Caribbean, and became the expression of bitterness and nostalgia in the Dominican Republic. Yet the bachata was looked down-upon by middle and upper-class Dominicans.
The word "bachata" refers to the rowdy, lower class parties in some of the poorest neighborhoods, and the musicalthough seemingly romanticcame off to some as whiney and melancholic. Many songs reflected the undesirable topics of poverty and prostitution, yet most relied on the tried and true themes of love and betrayal. Dominican radio stations such as Radio Guarachita began to promote the music during the 1960s on a limited scale, and by the 1980s artists such as Juan Luis Guerra began to record modernized versions with slightly more sophisticated lyrics, harmony and arrangements with his group 440.
Soon, audiences around the world were exposed to a more "dignified" and accessible form of bachata, and recently Dominicans in the New York area have experienced a recent boom with numerous recordings and live performances by some of the genre's newest young stars. Rebeca Mauleon