In the late 1980s, as bachata’s popularity and notoriety simultaneously grew, a group of liberal middle class musicians began to take an interest in it. Sonia Silvestre, Victor Victor, Luis Dias and Juan Luis Guerra were the most prominent of this group, and they recorded songs in bolero time with varying degrees of similarity to bachata proper. Guerra, particularly, was phenomenally successful, and his record, Bachata rosa, was a hit in Europe, the United States and throughout Latin America.
Tecno-bachata has not made a voluminous contribution to the music’s repertoire, having been rather a short-lived experiment (although Guerra inspired some later tecno-bachateros like Felix D’Oleo). Most of the musicians who recorded tecno-bachata were not strictly or solely bachateros, and continued to record, as they always had, in a wide range of styles. The importance of tecno-bachata lies in the fact that mainstream society began to accept at least some bachata after the enormous success of Guerra’s music. The tecno-bachateros may have made some impact on the production values of bachata as well, although after Blas Duránintroduced multi-track recording these had begun to improve steadily. Even the impact of these contributions on the genre may have been exaggerated at the time by the media, who after so long disparaging bachata now sought a reason for its newfound legitimacy. But bachata has always had a significant audience, and has probably long been the most popular style of music in the Dominican Republic. At the time that Guerra and Silvestre recorded their tecno-bachata, bachata’s popularity was already growing exponentially.