Bachata is a form of Dominican Republic popular music, which emerged as a distinct genre after the death dictator Trujillo in the 1960s. The term Bachata refers to a lower class loud crowded fiesta.


The genre had its beginnings under the Trujillo regime with a style of music called cacione de amargue or song of bitterness. Early performers were Jose Manuel Calderon and Rafael Carnacion. It had its roots in the lower class of the Dominican Republic, associated with rural (campos) and barrio culture. After the death of Trujillo, the genre developed into its own distinct style. Trujillo was influential in the development of the genre by encouraging and consuming Dominican folk forms It was initially rejected by upper-class Dominican society, who embraced Merengue as the signature music of Dominican identity. The upper class viewed it as vulgar. Because of its barrio and rural affiliation, Bachata songs and artist who outsold Merengue artist received zero airplay. In the 1970s and 1980s, Merengue reigned supreme as the music of the Dominican Republic, but in the late 80s Bachata began to rise. Wilfrido Vargas and Juan Luis Guerra assisted in establishing Bachata's rise.


Instruments used to create the genre include bongos(drum), one or two guitars, marimba or electric bass, maracas(shaker), guira(metal scraper), and tambora.

Bachata lyrics usually deal with changing social conditions, sex, male comraderie, gender issues. Early Bachata was lyrically romantic, slow, and sorowful. In the 1970s, it began to address issues between male and female. Current Bachata lyrics deal with changing social mores and the breakdown of social roles between man and woman. It makes use of street language, keeping in tune to its barrio roots, and double entendre.


The simplest way to dance the genre takes a one two three and thrust pattern. The thrust is one toe thrust or little hop. More elaborate styles have developed in dancing the genre.

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