|Cultural origins||Dominican Republic|
|Typical instruments||Bongo Drums|
|Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, United States, Panama, Mexico, Colombia|
Bachata is a genre of music that originated in the Dominican Republic in the early parts of the 20th century and spread to other parts of Latin America and Mediterranean Europe. It became popular in the countryside and the rural neighborhoods of the Dominican Republic. Its subjects are often romantic; especially prevalent are tales of heartbreak and sadness. In fact, the original term used to name the genre was amargue ("bitterness," or "bitter music"), until the rather ambiguous (and mood-neutral) term bachata became popular. The form of dance, Bachata, also developed with the music.
The earliest bachata was originally developed in the Dominican Republic around the early part of the 20th century, with mixed Cuban boleros and, which originated from Son. With African elements, combined with traditional Latin/Caribbean rhythms. During much of its history Bachata music was denigrated by Latino/Caribbean society and associated with rural backwardness and delinquency. As recently as 1988 Bachata was considered too vulgar, crude and musically rustic to enter mainstream music. In the 1990s, bachata's instrumentation changed from acoustic guitar to electric steel string. The new electric bachata (New York Style) soon became an international phenomenon, and today bachata is as popular as salsa and merengue in some Latin American dance-halls.
The typical bachata group consists of five instruments: lead guitar, rhythm guitar, electric bass guitar, bongos and güira.The rhythm guitar is also known as a Segunda and serves the purpose of adding syncopation to the music. Bachata groups mainly play a simple style of bolero (lead guitar instrumentation using arpeggiated repetitive chords is a distinctive characteristic of bachata), but when they change to merengue based bachata, the percussionist will switch from bongo to a tambora drum. In the 1960s and 70s, maracas were used instead of güira. The change in the 1980s from maracas to the more versatile güira was made as bachata was becoming more dance oriented.
Dance history 
The first Dominican bachatas were first recorded immediately after the demise of Trujillo, whose 30-year dictatorship was accompanied by censorship. José Manuel Calderón is credited as having recorded the first bachata singles: (“Borracho de amor” and “Que será de mi (Condena)”) released on 45rpm in 1961. After Trujillo's death, the floodgates were opened: following Calderon's historic bachata debut came more recordings by the likes of Rodobaldo Duartes, Rafael Encarnacion, Ramoncito Cabrera El Chivo Sin Ley, Corey Perro, Antonio Gómez Salcero, Luis Segura, Eladio Romero Santos, Ramón Cordero and many more. The 1960s saw the birth of the Dominican music industry and of the bachata music which would dominate it.
While the bachatas being recorded in the 1960s had a distinctly Dominican flavor, they were regarded at the time as a variant of bolero, as the term bachata, which originally referred to an informal rustic party, had not yet come into use. This term was first applied to the music by those seeking to disparage it. The higher echelons of Dominican Society felt that bachata music was an expression of cultural backwardness, and a campaign ensued to brand bachata in this negative light.
The 1970s were dark years for bachata. The music was seldom played on the radio, and almost unmentioned on television and in print. Bachateros were also barred from performing in high society venues - having to content themselves instead with gigs in bars and brothels in the country's poorest neighborhoods. The music was influenced by its surroundings; sex, despair and crime were amongst numerous topics the genre highlighted. This, of course, only furthered the cause of those seeking to tar bachata as a music of the barrios. Despite its unofficial censorship, bachata remained widely popular; while orchestral merengue benefited from the country's major publicity outlets. However, bachata continued to outsell merengue. Some Bachateros to emerge from this era were Marino Perez, and Leonardo Paniagua.
By the early 1980s bachata's popularity could not be denied. Due to popular demand, more radio stations began playing bachata, and bachateros soon found themselves performing on television as well. Bachata in the mean time had begun to take on a more dance-hall sound: tempos increased, guitar playing became punchier, and call and response singing more prevalent. Bachata style merengues, or guitar merengues, also became an increasingly important part of the bachata repertoire. Blas Durán was the first to record with electric guitar in his 1987 bachata-merengue hit, "Mujeres hembras".
By the early 1990s, the sound was further modernized and the bachata scene was dominated by two new young stars: Luis Vargas and Antony Santos. Both incorporated a large number of bachata-merengues in their repertoires. Santos, Vargas and the many new style bachateros who would follow achieved a level of stardom which was unimaginable to the bachateros who preceded them. They were the first generation of pop bachata artists and received all the hype and image branding typical of commercial pop music elsewhere. It was also at this time that bachata began to emerge internationally as a music of Hispanic dance-halls.
Juan Luis Guerra's Grammy-winning 1992 release, Bachata Rosa, is routinely credited with making the genre more acceptable and helping bachata achieve legitimacy and international recognition. Surprisingly, although he used the word bachata in the album title, none of the songs reflected the distinctive bachata sound.
Notable artists 
Modern Bachata artists 
- Romeo Santos - Former lead singer of Aventura, and known singularly as the "King of modern Bachata".
- Aventura - Known as "K.O.B." (Kings of Bachata)
- Prince Royce- Known singularly as the "Prince of Bachata/Pop".
- Toby Love- Known singularly as the "King of Crunk-Bachata".
- Ivy Queen - Known singularly as the "Queen of Reggaeton" and potential "Queen of Bachata".
- Frank Reyes, known as the Prince of Bachata.
- Leslie Grace
- Henry Santos
- Monchy y Alexandra
- Elvis Martinez
- Andy Andy
- Carlos & Alejandra
Classic Bachata artists 
- Edilio Paredes, One of bachata's founding fathers.
- Eladio Romero Santos, a pioneer of bachata's merengue de guitarra.
- Leonardo Paniagua, father of romantic bachata.
- José Manuel Calderón, the first artist to record a bachata.
- Marino Perez, father of bitter bachata.
- Raulín Rodríguez
- Antony Santos
- Luis Vargas
- Zacarías Ferreira
- Yoskar Sarante
- Joan Soriano
- Juan Luis Guerra
- Pacini Hernandez, Deborah. "Brief history of Bachata", Bachata, A social history of a Dominican popular music, 1995, Temple University Press. Retrieved on 2008-12-04
- Pacini Hernandez, Deborah. Bachata, A social history of a Dominican popular music, 1995, Temple University Press. Retrieved on 2008-12-04.
- iASO Records, David Wayne. "Juan Luis Guerra Biography", Juan Luis Guerra Biography, 2008, iASO Records.
- Yoselín Acevedo (2010-07-14). "Ivy Queen ya encontró a su "Príncipe"". People En Español (in Spanish). Time Inc. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
- Comprehensive history of bachata with music and video clips
- National Geographic.com - Nat Geo Music: Bachata page