Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dominican Music and Dance: Mambo, Reggaeton and World Music

Singing a palos classic at La Negreta
 After merengue and bachata, mambo and reggaeton are among the more popular
genres of music.

Mambo callejero or mambo violento is merengue’s street-smart urban cousin, employing accelerated counts accompanied by the style and lyrics of rap. Artists such Omega, El Sujeto, Julian y Oro Duro, and El Jeffrey are among the better known artists winning over Dominican youth with their pelvic-thrusting rhythms.

Another brainchild of Dominican urbanity is reggaeton, Latin America’s response to hip hop, though the true pioneers of this genre hail from Puerto Rico. Dominican hip-hop, which employs a crude blend of Caribbean rhythms, is slowly taking root as well with such artists as DKano, El Lapiz Consciente, Del Patio, and Mozart La Para y Villanosam.
Dancing in the street to infectious rhythms

Even beyond these is a new genre generally called “world music,” since it draws from both domestic and international influence. Calor Urbano, formed in 2002, mixes Caribbean rhythms with soul, hip-hop, and a dose of pop to create an immediately pleasing sound that has earned a significant following. Rita Indiana, a published author and former model, along with her band, Los Misterios, has taken on and incorporates reggaeton, electronic, meringue, and everything in between to create something that is authentic, but simultaneously has broad appeal. Lesser-known fusion bands, such as the percussion–heavy rhythms of Batey Cero and ConCon Quemao are strongly influenced by palos, a percussive style of music born in the sugar cane communities (bateyes) throughout the country. At the heart of the Dominican folklore-world music movement are living legends such as Xiomara Fortuna, José Duluc, Irka Mateo, and Patricia Pereyra.

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