Puerto Plata

Singer, Person

1923 –


Who is Puerto Plata?

Born in the resort town of Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, José Cobles sings in a style reminiscent of the Dominican guitar tradition of the 1930s and 40s, when bolero, merengue, and son were all variations of the same Afro-Iberian fusion.

Under the dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo, few recordings were made of guitar music in the Dominican republic. Trujillo favored merengue tipico, a rural style of merengue played with the accordion. While guitar music was still immensely popular among the poor, it was looked down on by the nation's elite, and few opportunities were given for guitar based groups to record or perform is classy venues. After Trujillo's assassination in 1961, guitar music continued to be stigmatized, but an industry began to coalesce around popular guitar acts who by then were evolving a style which has come to be known as bachata.

Puerto Plata gives one of the few surviving examples of the style of music played in the Trujillo period - before Dominican guitar music evolved into bachata. Compared to modern bachateros, Puerto Plata's style, while strongly Dominican, is closer to that of contemporary Cuban masters like Trio Matamoros and Antonio Machin.

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on July 23, 2013


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