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Senior Year, 2008-2009: Bachata's Young Heartthrobs

by Rachel Devitt

Senior Year, 2008-2009: Bachata's Young Heartthrobs

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By the first decade of this century, bachata had been around long enough to establish itself as a Very Important Pop Genre in the Dominican Republic and, gradually, throughout the Latin world. Gone were the days when the swaying music with the gritty rural roots was maligned and ignored in mainstream Dominican pop culture: Bachateros (and the occasional bachatera) like Monchy y Alexandra, Zacarías Ferreira and Alex Bueno were starting to become major players on the urban (and international) pop scene.

But the sultry little shuffle that could was about to undergo yet another evolution -- and another move. This time, the change coame to a new cultural hotbed: Dominican neighborhoods in New York City. There, Dominican immigrants, many of them teenage boys and young men, started taking up the swaying rhythms and sensual lyrics of bachata -- and adding a new, urban American twist or two. Bits of pop, hip-hop and especially R&B (bachata's kissing, maybe baby-making cousin) were woven into the soft rolls and familiar rhythms. Aventura led the way, of course, but soon a whole host of sweet-talking, swoon-worthy urban bachateros joined Romeo and Co. at the top of the charts -- and the top of many, many crush lists. Lose yourself in the sexy, sultry, club-ready romance of urban bachata's intoxicating early days.

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