Roots and folkloric music have never been missing from the Dominican music scene. These are musicians who elevate and reclaim black heritage, defying white supremacy and the history of slavery, colonialism, and even periods in the 20 th century when these genres were cause for persecution in the Dominican Republic. To this day, roots music is still central to Dominican culture, and with an underground movement that is buzzing across the island, artists who push boundaries by colliding local sounds and modern genres are thriving. Henry Gonzalez, founder of the arts collective Kiskeya Libre , says that this is part of a legacy that must be upheld and protected. Kiskeya Libre, a collective that seeks to connect artists across the diaspora, has worked with some artists who are part of the folkloric scene. Documenting this movement on a day like today is essential. The date marks a complicated historical moment, when the country separated itself from Haiti in , but it stands out as a time when Dominicans can play merengue without headphones on the subway, carry plantains in high school hallways, and embrace the spirit of celebration that is central to Dominican culture. In the Dominican Republic, the end of February is also when Carnival ends with a bang. To mark the end of Carnival, some of the leading figures and upstarts joining the folklore movement in the Dominican Republic came together for this fire collaboration under the moniker Sonido Fresko.
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Meet the Dominican Artists Who Are Revolutionizing the Sounds of the Island
A series of high-profile collaborations have helped the Dominican rapper El Alfa introduce dembow to a new audience. El Alfa hails from the Dominican Republic and specializes in the genre known as dembow. This homegrown style is characterized by tracks that hurtle along, sticking close to the ground and emitting short, sharp samples like a submarine sending out sonar. Dembow has thrived in the Dominican Republic and its diaspora in Spain, New York City and elsewhere for years; now, for the first time, it appears to be on the verge of reaching a wider listenership. On the other side of the world, Darbar has taken notice of the genre. Santiago Matias, whose Alofoke radio show enjoys more than 1. In a sense, dembow is the old reggaeton, too: The term refers to both a tremendously popular rhythm, which forms the basis of reggaeton, and the spare, pummeling off-shoot from the Dominican Republic.
Dominican Musical Genres
The Dominican Republic is an island nation located in the Caribbean. It occupies the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola and shares a border with Haiti. The Dominican Republic is home to a diverse musical culture that derives from Spanish, African and indigenous Taino musical influences.
Dominicans are renowned for their dancing talents—you will spot them spontaneously twirling at the park, on their house veranda, or pretty much anywhere they hear their music. Two principal genres dominate and are synonymous with the Dominican Republic, here and around the world: merengue, and bachata. Wherever you end up in the Dominican Republic, experiencing our music and our rhythms is as easy as stepping outside. Merengue is the national music and dance of the Dominican Republic.