Academia de Bachata is the only music program in the world to focus on teaching bachata and merengue. A music education focused on local traditions motivates children, empowers communities, and preserves diversity. Based in Cabarete, the Academia is a collaborative venture between iASO Records and The DREAM Project, an educational NGO that provides holistic education to more than 15,000 at-risk youth in the Dominican Republic.
The Academia opened its doors in 2013 and has more than 100 K-12 children enrolled in free, intensive daily guitar, percussion, and voice classes. The Academia's faculty of celebrated musicians endeavors to transmit bachata’s traditions to future generations, while encouraging children to develop their own musical expression. Our touring student ensemble performs dozens of concerts and workshops per year for thousands of US children and adults.
We emphasize collaborative learning through band practice, performances, and group exercises.
QUALITY AND INTENSITY OF MUSIC EDUCATION
The intensity and quality of musical immersion are critical to a student's progress. We offer frequent classes with accomplished musician teachers who develop enthusiasm among students.
Our Suzuki for folk music approach engages children by teaching through local traditions. Children are enthusiastic and better prepared to learn a musical tradition that is popular in their community.
We are preparing the next generation of teachers. Our advanced students train as teaching assistants. TAs play an important role in expanding access to our curriculum.
We seek to empower communities to preserve and develop their musical culture. A community that takes pride in its culture is strong and has much to offer to humanity.
INCLUSION OF ALL PEOPLE
Academia de Bachata welcomes children of all backgrounds and genders. We seek to empower underrepresented voices through music.
Academia de Bachata has some of the best talent in the local and international music scenes in its faculty. With decades of experience and impressive track records, our teachers help our students to perfect their musicianship so that one day they can be bachateros and bachateras in their own right.
Abel Mendez ‘Abelito’
Abelito is Dominican Republic’s leading bachata percussionist. In a career spanning from the 1970s until today, Abel played a leading role in developing the rythmic structures that define modern bachata. Abelito was a founding member of Monchy y Alexandra, a Grammy nominated group. He has recorded with almost every well-known bachata artist including Romeo Santos and Antony Santos.
Sergio Laccone graduated as a Doctor in Art, Music, and Performing Arts at the University of La Tuscia (Viterbo Italy). He acquired a private mastership in Classical and Modern Singing at the Mo S. Raia School (Naples, Italy). He has written songs and lyrics for cinema, television, and theatre, aand released numerous records. Sergio fluently speaks six languages and has performed in 32 countries on four continents. He teaches Vocal Technique, History of Music and Performing Skills at Academia de Bachata and the “International School of Contemporary Music” UNPHU University, Santo Domingo.
Martires de León
As bachata’s top session guitarist and the arranger for megastar Romeo Santos, guitar maestro Martires de León has toured the world and performed in iconic venues such as Madison Square Garden. Widely traveled and formally trained, his mission is to broaden his students’ horizons, fostering in them the skills and discipline necessary for a professional musician.
Benjamin de Menil
Benjamin de Menil is the founder of Academia de Bachata and iASO Records. For two decades, he has produced recordings, performances, and educational programs that foster Dominican musical traditions. Benjamin’s productions, which feature pioneers of bachata, have been critically acclaimed and have topped music charts. His traditional bachata music and dance videos are viewed by tens of millions. In 2013, inspired by the success of the Dominican Republic’s baseball academies, Benjamin established Academia de Bachata to incubate the next generation of professional bachateros.