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OK, back 2 our regular deprogramming.

Bachata Roja: Acoustic Bachatas from the Cabaret Era is a solid comp of the Dominican guitar music that you now hear in its slicked-up contemporary form all over NYC’s Latino barrios. There aren’t any female vocalists on it, and this assortment of love (& lust) songs would unequivocally benefit from a female perspective (ok, maybe it’s not so solid) but if you’re feeling this tune, then the album is worth looking for:

Felix Quintana – Ladrona

I for one am digging (for) Latin Caribbean guitar music. Bachata Roja showcases the old school’s dude romantics and spry unplugged elegance.

Contemporary bachata swirls around the streets & pulses up through the floorboards of where I live, and one of the best moments is when the sound coming from a neighboring window or passing car switches from bachata (which i don’t know at all) to reggae classics (which I know and consider ‘my own’). These wonderful Antillean geographies displaced and collapsed — condensed — into Brooklyn, where like and unlike across at least two languages join hands to bump.

6 thoughts on “PLATA PASTA Y BACHATA”

  1. /rupture.
    Eliades Ochoa..really nice guitarist and singer from Cuba.
    I’m pretty sure you already know but thought it was

  2. picked this up a few weeks ago, & been enjoying it. nice to hear bachata before that same (if awesome) trebly, swirly guitar timbre assumed orthodoxy. and nice liner notes from my dear colleague (& co-editor) debbie pacini hernandez). as she explains in her book, _bachata_, the music really has its roots in men singing about unrequited love to other men (sometimes so that women will dance with them, and maybe do some requiting). so little surprise that female perspectives in bachata remain so rare.

    as the genre has become mainstream, tho (and not just in DR, but in PR and NY), we’re sure to see/hear a wider range. even still, tho, mostly men. (but i love when ivy queen gets all sentimental on some bachaton.)

  3. Jayce, backing up w&w 100%. Bachata, in old form and new, has never had much feminine perspective. For that, you have to look for the few and far between women in merengue tipico — most notably, proto-reggaetonera Fefita la Grande (who Ivy Queen should rip off if she hasn’t already), but also La India Canela and a couple of others that escape me at the moment.

    I too am loving Bachata Roja and was surprised at how such sweet stuff coulda been considered so disreputable, musica de guardia & de cabaret.

  4. thanks for this background info w&w and caro. 2 men unrequited lovesongs.

    yes that comp is indeed sweet — sweetness mixed with a faint lockerroom odor?

  5. thanks to Caro for pointing out the contribution of female merengue tipico artists. I recently co-produced and wrote the liner notes for the La India Canela CD dacks mentions. There are actually many women playing tipico and more coming out all the time, something I’m writing about in my dissertation. Tipico is a bit more hospitable to female artists than bachata partly because bachata lyrics are often so misogynistic, while tipico can be more humorous or ironic. Hope you enjoy the Folkways CD, too, although there’s no guitar in it…

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