Bachata is a dance from the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean islands. Both the music and the dance have been influenced by Cuban Bolero, the Merengue (also of Dominican Republic origin), Salsa and Cumbia.While Luis Segura is widely acclaimed as "the father of Bachata", José Manuel Calderón is credited with recording the first Bachata songs on May 30th, 1962, in the studios of Radiotelevisión Dominicana (Borracho de amor and Condena).

These early recording will hardly be recognized as Bachata today. They were heavily influenced by Cuban Bolero such as Verdadero amor. Indeed, the music was not called Bachata. It was called Bolero Campesino. It was played using an acoustic guitar and was slower than the Bachata of today. Cuban Bolero is a Latin version of Blues replete with themes like deception and lost love. One of Calderón's songs, Boracho de amor, even has a waltz rhythm.

In 1967, Calderón travelled to the US. When he returned to the Dominican Republic in 1972, he found that Bachata music had gained ill repute and had become associated with prostitution. Bachata had also become stigmatized and marginalized as music for the poorer classes. Only one nationwide radio station, Radio Guarachita, played the music.

Popular Music

Gradually, Bachata evolved in style and popularity, It burst on the international stage in 1992, when Juan Luis Guerra won a Grammy for his album Bachata Rosa. Suddenly Bachata regained its lost legitimacy. However, since the Calderón days, the music had become faster and incorporated electronic sounds.

Internationally, one of the most popular Bachata singles is Obsesion played by the Dominican group Aventura. Locally, popular Bachata performers are Antony Santos & Luis Vargas. Other notables include Raulin Rodriguez, Zacarias Ferreira, Frank Reyes, Monchy y Alexandra, Domenic Marte, Xtreme, Andy Andy, Leonardo Paniagua, Los Toros Band, and Joe Veras.