Bachata not to be confused with Baracha (a Female Drunk) is a genre of music that was created and formed in the Dominican Republic. It represents the mentality of the country very well. Their love of life, music and dancing. Although Bachata has been in the making for about 60 years it has only really become internationally accepted in the last 20 years.
Much of the international popularity and even the national popularity are do to one artist. Antony Santos. Bringing the genre of Bachata to being a music respected by the people was no easy task.
Birth of Bachata
From the very birth of Bachata, it had been a music for the poor. It was only played at the poor man’s bar and the poor man’s parties. As the popularity among the countries poorest citizens grew, the very thought of listening to the music was shunned more and more by the upper classes.
As the music evolved its reputation was not bettered. In the 70’s and 80’s the music’s primary theme of romance changed and focused more and more on violence, illicit-sex, and heavy drinking.
A large change was needed if the music was to became widely accepted and even become popular on an international scale.
Bachata’s Modern Influence
This where such artists as Luis Vargas, Raulín Rodriguez, Juan Bautista, and especially Antony Santos come into play. Although Blas Durán was the one that originally introduced the electric guitar to Bachata, there is no doubt that Luis Vargas, Raulín Rodriguez, Antony Santos and Juan Bautista played their part in making Bachata what it is today. Among the for Antony Santos has become the most influential bachatero and possibly the richest.
Antony Santos is largely responsible for turning the reputation of Bachata around to being a music accepted by all classes and rivaling in popularity with Merengue (the national music of the Dominican Republic).
Helping the People to Accept Bachata
His career began in the early 90’s while playing with upcoming artist Luis Vargas’ band as the güirero. He left the group in 1991 do to personally differences and his career began to take off. Much of Santos’ music was Merengue, and this played a large part in making his Bachata popular.
Bachata at this point in time still had a very negative reputation, but the combination of mixing elements of Merengue in his Bachata, playing many strictly Merengue songs and writing lyrics that were closer to the original strictly romantic themes greatly improved the peoples view of Bachata .
His style of playing the guitar was very different from the traditional Bachateros. Playing using a down stroke with a thumb pick instead of the traditional up stroke. This gives hime a very distinct sound that his fans can pick out in a heartbeat.
Today his Merengue is about as famous as his Bachata and continues to be the favorite artist of many people.