Music & Nightlife
If you like Latin rhythms and dancing, the Dominican Republic won’t disappoint. The DR is probably most famous as the birthplace of bachata music and dance, a partner dance which emerged in the 60’s and has since spread around the world. But the DR has much more to offer than just Bachata, with a rich mix of music that pulls from its diverse cultural influences.
Perico Ripiao, otherwise known as Merengue Típico, is a folkloric early version of merengue that also got its start here, with roots reaching back to the 1850’s, and musical influences from the mix of Spanish, Africans, and even German traders to the island. Perico Ripiao typically combines the tambura drum, a metal scraper called a güira, and the accordion.
Influenced by nearby neighbour, Cuba, the Dominican Republic also developed its own salsa orquestras that influenced the genre through the 50s, 60s, and 70s, and into modern times.
Another more traditional music form in the Dominican Republic is Palo. Palos are part of the Afro-Dominican culture, and typically played at religious ceremonies. They use only drums and voice and are a fundamental part of the syncretic Catholicism that has developed on the island which merges traditional Catholicism with African religions.
As for modern music, dembow rhythms and reggaetón are certainly popular. Many big American reggaetón artists have family roots from the DR, and the music is especially popular among youth. You’ll be sure to hear it in nightclubs.
So, get ready to shake it to this rich mix of music. You’ll find the most nightlife options in the major cities like Santo Domingo, Santiago, Puerto Plata, Cabarete, Samana, and Punta Cana.