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Bachata Bolero

The tempos of bachata’s early period were invariably slow, the words romantic, and the style sentimental. In contrast to later bachata, most bachata-boleros were not original compositions but remakes of classic boleros and valses. This being the case, they naturally didn’t include the Dominican slang and regionalisms that would become a staple in the bachata of later periods. The instrumentation of bachata-bolero was more varied as well; whereas later bachata was played almost exclusively on two guitars, bass, bongo and güira or maracas, bachata-boleros often included wind instruments like clarinet or saxophone, a piano, or violins.

Almost all of the earliest bachateros recorded in this style, and some of the best known, aside from Calderón himself, were Fabio Sanabia (Obediencia), Inocencio Cruz, Rafael Encarnación (Muero Contigo) and Luis Segura (Dejame Tomar). Of this group Segura transcended the period and continued to record bolero-bachatas with great success. Later, Leonardo Paniagua would join him as one of the most important interpreters of this style.

When it began, bachata was not stigmatized as the music of poverty and prostitution that it would later be seen as. The earliest bachateros, like Calderón, were simply Dominicans singing a music which was already popular in the country, but mostly imported. As time went on that would change, although bachata-bolero, because of its formal, romantic language and because of the very fact that most of the songs were not original but remakes of already popular pieces, managed to escape some of the criticism which was directed at the music of other bachateros.

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