EMPOWERING CHILDREN THROUGH TRADITIONAL MUSIC

Why Bachata?

“The heart that feels music will feel people" Shinichi Suzuki

What is Bachata?

Bachata is a traditional music of the Dominican Republic. It has grown from a fusion of Iberian, African, and Native American influences. Long disparaged for its association with the urban and rural poor, bachata has nevertheless become a global success. Top bachata artists sell out stadiums and attract an online audience numbering in the billions. Bachata is also a style of Latin social dance. Bachata dance schools (but not music schools) exist in cities throughout the world.

  • Though a small island nation of 11 million, The Dominican Republic’s musical culture is having an outsized global impact. By studying bachata, Dominican children have an extraordinary opportunity to contribute meaningfully to a musical genre that touches many the world over.
  • Bachata has a diverse heritage tracing back to Moorish Spain, and the traditions of West Africa and the Caribbean. While bachata has been recognized by UNESCO as an essential cultural heritage of humanity, the Bachata Academy is alone in endeavoring to transmit bachata to future generations.

  • Musical studies help children to develop emotionally and intellectually. The best way to teach music is through the local idiom. In the Dominican Republic, this is Bachata.

Teaching music through the local idiom, embracing local arts and culture, helps to strengthen self-esteem at the community level. A community that takes pride in itself is more confident, resilient, and better able to face its challenges. 

 

Studying bachata supports community development by encouraging self-development, artistic expression, professional teamwork values, and communal pride. The discipline of learning music fosters confidence and self-control. By providing music education to its students, and a safe place for them to flourish, the Bachata Academy aims to be a catalyst for social development. 

A short history of Bachata

Author: David Wayne
Editor: Benjamin de Menil

Now overwhelmingly successful among Latinos in the United States, bachata took shape over a period of about forty years in the bars and brothels of Santo Domingo, not gaining acceptance in its native land until about ten years ago. Young groups like Aventura have a similar relationship to original bachata as rock and rollers do to the blues, which has languished in the shadow of its more commercially viable descendant.

Now overwhelmingly successful among Latinos in the United States, bachata took shape over a period of about forty years in the bars and brothels of Santo Domingo, not gaining acceptance in its native land until about ten years ago. Young groups like Aventura have a similar relationship to original bachata as rock and rollers do to the blues, which has languished in the shadow of its more commercially viable descendant.

The genre has passed through several phases since José Manuel Calderón recorded what is generally recognized as the first bachata single (“Borracho de amor” and “Que será de mi (Condena)”) in 1961. Indeed, long before Calderón, guitar music was the music of choice in the places of ill repute which became home to bachata. The guitar and guitar music like bolero and son were also the staples of the campo, the countryside, and with the death of dictator Rafael Trujillo in 1961 a number of musicians left the campo to record in the capital. The dictator’s family had virtually monopolized the music industry in the country, and when he was killed entrepreneurs began recording the first generation of bachateros. At this point, the music was not yet referred to as bachata, but rather as “bolero campesino”. The word bachata originally denoted an informal party where guitar music was generally played—only later did it come to signify the music itself, and then in a denigrating manner.

The genre has passed through several phases since José Manuel Calderónrecorded what is generally recognized as the first bachata single (“Borracho de amor” and “Que será de mi (Condena)”) in 1961. Indeed, long before Calderón, guitar music was the music of choice in the places of ill repute which became home to bachata. The guitar and guitar music like bolero and son were also the staples of the campo, the countryside, and with the death of dictator Rafael Trujillo in 1961 a number of musicians left the campo to record in the capital. The dictator’s family had virtually monopolized the music industry in the country, and when he was killed entrepreneurs began recording the first generation of bachateros. At this point the music was not yet referred to as bachata, but rather as “bolero campesino”. The word bachata originally denoted an informal party where guitar music was generally played—only later did it come to signify the music itself, and then in a denigrating manner.

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Email: hola@academiadebachata.org

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