BY J L Aronson
Superstars such as Bronx-based Aventura may have made bachata one of the biggest selling Latin genres in the world, but here at the 27 de Febrero, one of bachata’s pioneers dutifully performs for local crowds every Friday night in relative obscurity.
“Whoever comes to Washington Heights has to listen to bachata,” says Omar Santana, owner of the neighborhood’s 27 de Febrero Restaurant, which is located on 172nd Street and St. Nicholas Avenue in Manhattan. “Whatever public place, whatever restaurant you go to, you’re going to hear bachata.”
Bachata rules New York Latin radio, and any Gothamite will recognize the Dominican genre’s clinky, rhythmic guitars and wistful tenor croon as a fixture of the city’s sonic landscape. Edilio Paredes has been part of bachata’s history since its beginnings in the 1960s, essentially inventing the music’s signature guitar style as the house guitarist at Santo Domingo’s Radio Guarachita. Back then, bachata was looked down on, thought of as music for poor country people. “Now, to say you are a bachata artist is a great honor. It used to be a disgrace,” says Paredes.
Source: Read more at culture.wnyc.org: http://culture.wnyc.org/articles/music-hub/2010/oct/06/dominican-bachata-founder-spices-up-tiny-washington-heights-restaurant/