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Romantic Bachata Dance Music


In the flux of the 1990s with Anthony Santos and the frontier bachateros growing the genre and changing the way bachata music was played, the genre grew substantially. More so than ever before, bachata music was both simple and romantic. This simplification, along with the modernization of the sound, helped to grow the movement into audiences that had never before experienced bachata music. Many point to Reyes’ album “El Cieguito Sabio” in 1992 as the crossover point that brought middle class listeners into the bachata folds, listening to the traditional bachata styles rather than the tecno variations.

During his career, Reyes was known for his open songs and classical style, and this album was not incredibly different, except that it moved beyond the simple cabaret styling of early bachata and toward the romantic, melodic tones of popular music. By further simplifying the style of music as well, something Duran, Santso and Vargas had begun years before, he was able to reach out to vast audiences who were earlier turned off by the style. The arrangements now were designed to echo the singer, patterned simply and carefully, much like the standard pop music of so many other countries. Today’s bachata music does the same thing.

A couple of years later with the rise of Joe Veras, bachata continued to grow towards romantic styling. Rather than the traditional singing styles of bachata – the low mourning voice of Luis Segua – Veras sang softly. He wrote many of his own songs, and they reflected it. The songs were still a bit gritty, as the classical bachata lyrics always were, but now they also incorporated the kinds of careful, relaxed themes that middle class listeners enjoy. Not only did he change the style in which he sang from other bachateros, Veras approached the guitar from a different angle, not sticking to the traditional styles of Santos and the like.

So, with Reyes and Veras at the lead, bachata music was almost entirely romantic music by the end of the decade. The thematic switch is evident in almost all bachata songs, dealing strictly with love and loss, and very little else. Today’s bachateros have further used this change to craft baladas, a completely different genre altogether. Artists such as Frank Reyes and Zacarias Ferreira have done many things with the romantic form, but the fusion seems to be resisted by the majority of bachata fans with new albums failing in the form. The changes made to the traditional form were substantial, but unfortunately the differences between the two genres are too great to simply state they are both romantic and join them at the hip. However it appears, bachata music continues to grow rapidly, pushed by the mass appeal of such romantic songs.