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21 Days of Musica Latina: Dominican Republic

Courtesy of the artist

Editor's Note: To commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month this year, World Cafe is going on a musical tour of Latin America. Every weekday from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, we'll spotlight the music of a different Latin American country with a curated playlist of essential tracks, fresh voices and wild cards.

The music of the Dominican Republic is a phenomenon that has reached every corner of the world. Artists from Bad Bunny and Shakira to Rosalía have borrowed rhythms like merengue and bachata to craft global hits, but recognition is seldom given to the Dominican musicians that paved the way.

This playlist includes beloved merengue acts like Sergio Vargas, Juan Luis Guerra and Chichí Peralta. There are also the Dominican innovators who crafted their own motley sounds rooted in the music of this Caribbean island.

Groups like New York City's Proyecto Uno, which took merengue and blended it with hip-hop and house music. That fusion is on full display in songs like "Tiburón," which samples disco and soul classics like Cheryl Lynn's "Got to Be Real" and Joe Bataan's "Rap-O Clap-O." There's also Sandy & Papo's "La Hora De Bailar," a '90s track that completely transforms a house track from Scottish group Nightcrawlers.

There are also plenty of fresh acts exploring a gentler folk and pop sound like SNENiE, who had her breakout moment after appearing on Dominicana's Got Talent. There's also the Caribbean electronica of MULA, made up of twins Anabel and Cristabel Acevedo and producer Rachell Rojas.

Enjoy, and make sure you come back tomorrow to find out where World Cafe's headed next.

Copyright 2023 XPN

Miguel Perez
Miguel Perez is a radio producer for NPR's World Cafe, based out of WXPN in Philadelphia. Before that, he covered arts, music and culture for KERA in Dallas. He reported on everything from the rise of NFTs in the music industry to the enduring significance of gay and lesbian bars to the LGBTQ community in North Texas.
Byron Gonzalez
Guatemalan born and Los Angeles raised, Byron Gonzalez graduated from California State University, Northridge with a Bachelor's in journalism, with an emphasis on broadcast. Shortly thereafter, Gonzalez became the program director of Los Angeles' only 24-hour Latin Alternative radio station, The Latin Alt ( He's also a Latin Roots correspondent for NPR's World Cafe program. He has dedicated his career to highlighting a wide selection of music from established, emerging and independent artists with roots in Latin America, Brazil and Spain.