by: Eddie Olmo
I was sitting at the Barber’s chair when suddenly a new song, ‘Bachata En Fuoka’, from Juan Luis Guerra played on the radio. The mood of the establishment changed. For the first time since I sat down the Barber spoke to me. “Todo lo que el(Juan L Guerra) hace, se pega.”, I nodded my head as to agree with him. Then I began to wonder about this man, Juan Luis Guerra, who brought Bachata to the U.S.
It was 1990; exactly 21 years ago, salsa and merengue dominated the airwaves. Bootlegged tapes and CD’s were rampant on the streets. Dominicans, for the most part were being recognized in New York since their population was growing. The song ‘Burbujas De Amor’ hit the streets and everyone wanted to dance to this. The melody, the tone it set was sexual yet romantic. It wasn’t a dance sensation like the Lambada, but it was music with lyrics that people enjoyed to dance.
Soon after ‘Bachata Rosa’ was released and again Bachata fever was in. Traditional Bachata began to surface on the radio. Not everyone who enjoyed Juan Luis Guerra’s music liked the traditional Bachata that followed. Again a division in culture and music separated the Latinos. This separation didn’t last long, since Bachata was on the radio all the time those who didn’t like the music began to like and understand it.
What made Juan Luis Guerra’s Bachata different from the rest? It wasn’t your typical Bachata. Listening to it now it sounds commercialized, but not water down enough to lose its essence, to lose its culture or its romanticism. I think that for this reason Bachata was able to break into the international market.
Thank You Juan Luis Guerra, the Living Legend.