Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dominican Music and Dance: Rock ‘n’ Roll

Luis “El Terror” Díaz by Jaime Guerra
Dominican rock ‘n’ roll is one of the few genres that has drawn less upon Caribbean roots, looking to the U.S. and Europe for inspiration. Dominican rock’s humble beginnings grew from such bands as The Masters in the 1970s, followed by Empiphis and Cahobazul, popular in the mid-to-late eighties. Another band formed in eighties by the undeniably influential musician, Luis “El Terror” Díaz, was Transporte Urbano, a unique product of Díaz’s return to Santo Domingo after being thrown into the mix of New York’s punk rock scene.

Toque Profundo
The 1990s were the true renaissance of the “rockeros” in the Dominican Republic. During this period, bands such as Toque Profundo, Arcangel, Tribu del Sol, and Tabu Tek came to the forefront, providing an unapologetic response to the relatively homogenous music scene dominated by merengue. Spain-based JLS (Jodio Loco Sucio or “Screwed Crazy Dirty”), a heavy metal band started up by former Toque Profundo member Leo Susana, has achieved an international following. Also popular is New York-based Aljadaqui, whose pop rock sounds are indicative of the more palatable, mainstream rock in the music scene today. However, the heavy metal of the nineties continues to be received by loyal fans in smaller Santo Domingo venues like Cinema Café and Hard Rock Café, where Toque Profundo celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2010.

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