|These dancers live at Beauty for Ashes|
The music genre known as Bachata was initially called Amargue, which in Spanish means bitterness. That was possibly true in the Dominican Republic of the early 1900s, when Bachata first reached the ears of the country of its origins. During those times the lyrics sang of Trujillo’s Regime—of the bitterness evoked by the dictator who oppressed and tortured the people he was supposed to lead and protect. It was the music of the countryfolk; field workers, sugar cane cutters, and of those with skins that were too dark to be good enough to exist in the same country of their governor. It was also the tune of clandestine lovers. Bachata was filled with a kind of human passion that offended the ears of Trujillo to the point that the genre was banned during his dictatorship. After the assassination of the tyrant, Bachata was still marginalized. The music was blasted in taverns and brothels, but played at a lower volume in the houses of people who probably didn’t believe it was as vulgar as their neighbors said. Things have changed; Bachata has evolved. Today, listening to this kind of music is a lot like having sex.
Bachata is no longer a forbidden rhythm exclusive to the Dominican Republic; guitars, bongos and güiras travel to North America, Europe and Asia in the company of Latin musicians who deliver art that moves the body and touches the soul. The latter might be to blame for the popularity of the genre. Bachata doesn’t only affect the ears; its lyrics are mostly in Spanish, but there is something contagious—almost liquid—about the rhythm guitar, which flows into the minds and bodies of many Bachata listeners, stimulating them to tap a foot, close their eyes, sway their hips, dismiss language barriers, and allow the sensual music to affect them physically and psychologically. Like in the case of sex, this genre can be best enjoyed when the listener allows it to work—simultaneously—the senses and the flesh.
The popular Latin rhythm calls for the abandonment of certain inhibitions: it is not impossible to listen to Bachata while holding on to hang-ups, but the experience can be awe-inspiring when the listener is not afraid of being startled by sudden musical outbursts. This is not to say that the music is unbalanced, on the contrary; it is so well-adjusted to its form that when the lyrics get passionate the instruments follow with notes that accentuate the meaning of the words. When the Bachata story speaks of betrayal, impossible loves, sexual need, intense anger and overwhelming happiness, the lead guitar screams, the second guitar follows through, the bongos shout sounds of passion, the güiras scratch with frustration… the entire band—people and instruments—comes together and assaults the listeners senses with living music. Bachata can be, at the same time, devastating to the self-conscious mind and ecstasy made song to the soul that welcomes the caresses of its tune without reservations.
Bachata is delightful when a person listens to it alone, but when its rhythm is shared with others, the result can be orgasmic.
I rarely write about music. I dance, but I don’t play any instruments, so I’ve always felt I would do the topic no justice. Then I heard an unknown band singing “Piel Canella”, one of the songs in Little Latin Bar, but as a Bachata, and my luvs, I felt sexy, bold, and unstoppable. I had to share the above words with you.
On a final note, the winner of Little Latin Bar from Paradise Music is…
I hope you are ready to get your dance on, my friend!
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