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Frontier Bachata Music

 

Bachata is a style music that started with the working classes of the Dominican Republic in the mid nineteen hundreds. It has roots in the Cuban style
Bolero. Bachata was originally dismissed by the upper classes and was even banned from Dominican television and radio until recently because of
prejudice against the lower classes, and the often realistic and gritty subjects found in the Bachata lyrics. Now Bachata is popular and respected all over
the world. Bachata music usually tells sad tales of heartbreak and hard life and used to be referred to as “música de amargue”, or “bitter music”.

Many Bachateros have also been inspired by Merengue and some have used the electric guitar instead of more traditional acoustic guitars for many
reasons including volume. The accordion became popular in the Dominican Republic once it arrived because it was very easy to hear along with other
instruments, more so than the acoustic guitar is. These changes gave rise to a style of Bachata called Frontier Bachata.

Frontier Bachata starts with the Bachata rhythms, but is faster and often simpler. Frontier Bachata incorporates many Merengue fills, embellishments,
and melody lines. The Bachateros often used the same lines and fills that they used in their Meregues over their Bachata rhythms. Frontier Bachata also
often includes syncopated guitar and bass lines that constitute a “mambo” section which was also found in the Boleros that originally inspired Bachata.

While Merengue and Bachata are very different styles of music that have different purposes and much different cultural histories, the Frontier Bachateros
had a love for both and their ability to play both styles allowed them to be blended into songs that do not disrespect the traditions of either style, yet are
unique. Some of the top artists include Eladio Romero Santos, Anthony Santos, Luis Vargas, Raulin Rodriguez, and Efrain Morel. Some of the
innovations in Bachata in the nineteen nineties, such as the use of the electric guitar, helped the popularity soar. In many non-musical ways Bachata is
like American Blues. They were both started in the early to mid nineteen hundreds by lower classes, they both deal with bitter and sad subjects in an
attempt to make other people going through hard times feel better, and they both have continued and been popularized even in the face of prejudice and
negative social stigmas.