This Documentary (Bachata Music of the people)
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"Bachata Musica del Pueblo" is a one-hour documentary video exploring a provocative and discriminated music from the Dominican Republic. Performances were filmed often in remote locations in the late night / early morning hours, in bars and clubs of New York City and Santo Domingo. The “cinema-verite” style defies contemporary recipes for filmmaking and underscores the social stigma attached to the Bachata music genre. Using only available light and a small, unobtrusive digital camera, allowed for innovative shooting and editorial techniques.
Bachata is commonly viewed as “vulgar”, “low class”, a “poor people’s music”. It is not featured on prime time radio nor promoted as the music of the Dominican Republic, a title which is instead assigned to Merengue. Bachata, within the Latin music industry has always been (and still is) reputed a musical genre for an oppressed and marginal audience of laborers and “lower class” people, denied by most Dominicans its role that indeed plays a very important part in their culture and musical traditions. While researching Bachata I soon discovered the hardships in finding information as there is to date only one publication about this music,“BACHATA”, by professor Deborah Pacini Hernandez, a very knowledgeable text that examines in detail the many different attributes and implications of Bachata within the Dominican society. Yet it was a music I could hear exploding from every corner shop, bar, restaurant, and moving vehicle in my upper Manhattan neighborhood. As a musician and an educator, I felt an imperative need to fill a cultural void that I discovered in the music world. I had an enormous dose of passion for the music, the lyrics, the people, and, learning Spanish as I wandered through the record shops, I dropped dollars into jukeboxes and became more and more engrossed by the singers and the sounds of their disheartened words.
This documentary is dedicated to the many great artists I had the pleasure and honor to meet, men and women singing a poetry that speaks to the human heart, that loves and looses in a brutally subjective world.
Juan Luis Guerra
Jose Manuel Calderon