José Manuel Calderón (musician)

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José Manuel Calderón
Studio album by José Manuel Calderón
Released N/A
Genre Bachata

José Manuel Calderón is considered the first Dominican musician to record bachata with “Borracho de amor" and "Condena”, in 1962 at the Radiotelevisión Dominicana studios. Calderón’s voice was unlike typical bachateros, in that he sang in baritone, much like Mexican singers like Pedro Infante. He also innovated instrumentation in bachata, applying strings, horn sections and piano, as well as replacing the maracas with a güira.

Calderón moved to New York in 1967, and recorded with labels such as Kubaney and BMC. After five years, he returned to the Dominican Republic, only to find that the bachateros had been marginalized, since the genre itself had been associated with poverty and prostitution, and only Radio Guarachita, a nationwide radio station, played bachata. Disillusioned by the situation, Calderón returned to New York, where he found that a Dominican community was growing in Washington Heights, and was able to give rise to a popular bachata scene. Nowadays, with the recent acceptance of bachata in the Dominican Republic and the USA, Calderón receives a fraction of the recognition he deserves as one of the forefathers of the national genre. Today he continues to record and distribute his own recordings.

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