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Bachata is a ballad-style music and accompanying dance with roots in the Dominican Republic that has grown in international popularity since the 1990s. Once a very marginal genre in the Dominican Republic, bachata was socially stigmatized throughout the twentieth century because it was played in bars, cabarets, and brothels in low-income neighborhoods on the outskirts of the capital, Santo Domingo. Its association with sexual references in a doble sentido (double-meaning) style contributed to its negative reputation among elite classes, whereas it had widespread popularity among working-class Dominicans. Instruments traditionally used in bachata music, such as the metal-tubed güira and percussive tambores, made with cheap materials such as aluminum cans and goat hides, reflect the historical poverty of its artists. Bachata's stigma is disappearing, however, as it increasingly gains international fame and new audiences. These changes are connected to the extensive migration of Dominicans to the northeast United States since the 1960s. Bachata artists such as Juan Luis Guerra and the New York-based band Aventura have elevated international recognition of the genre, which is widespread throughout Latin America, the United States, and Europe in the early twenty-first century.

See alsoMusic: Popular Music and Dance .


Hernandez, Deborah Pacini. Bachata, a Social History of a Dominican Popular Music. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1995.

                                          Hannah Gill