MIAMI, FL – APRIL 25: Juan Luis Guerra and Romeo Santos perform at Billboard Latin Music Awards 2013 at Bank United Center on April 25, 2013 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Rodrigo Varela/Getty Images)

Happy 51st birthday, Bachata!

“Bachata Rosa,” “Dile al Amor,” “Corazon Sin Cara”…Which is your favorite bachata song?

Pick one to dance to, because this week marks the 51st birthday of the genre that typically focuses on romance, heartbreak and sadness. José Manuel Calderón, who recorded the first bachata single, “Borracho de Amor” on May 30, 1962 and is credited as a bachata pioneer, has been busy celebrating. That’s because May 30 has been named the “International Day of Bachata” in the Dominican Republic.

Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo, who ruled the country with an iron fist for more than 30 years, maintained strict control over what music could be recorded on the island nation. It wasn’t until after his assassination in 1961 that the first generation of bachateros began recording — Calderón was one of the very first.

Four decades later, Calderón is still singing. He resides in his native Dominican Republic, but travels often to the U.S. to perform. He says through the years, bachata has not changed, but innovations have been made.

“The innovations have been made in part because of advancements in technology, which has helped a lot through the years” says Calderón in Spanish. “The support that bachata receives today does not compare to the little we had before.”

He says although the genre is growing, the essence of bachata still revolves around romance and feelings.

“One writes about love and falling out of love with good, sincere messages, and I hope that that doesn’t change for lucrative reasons,” says Calderón.

Today, we have bachateros like the multi-Grammy-Award winning and eclectic, Juan Luis Guerra, who is still going strong with a new album which released this month; and the younger Romeo Santos and Prince Royce are keeping the romantic genre alive and kicking. The younger bachateros often pay tribute to pioneers like Antony Santos, Luis Vargas and Calderón. Now, there are bachata festivals in San Francisco, New York, and as far away as Poland and Australia.

“What I most love about the genre is how the people have assimilated to it in 51 years — it’s a genre which prevails in society” says Calderón. “It’s a genre which, even though it’s overcome many obstacles in the past, it has stayed alive and conquered the world. It’s here, and it’s not going to disappear.”

It’s Friday, how about a little bachata after work? It is its birthday, after all.

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