Born in the rural countryside near Santo Domingo, Joan Soriano infuses steel string bachata with equal parts romance and grit. He is the star of Adam Taub’s The Duke of Bachata, was featured in Alex Wolfe’s critically acclaimed documentary, Santo Domingo Blues, and is on The Rough Guide’s Bachata compilation. Joan is the seventh of fifteen siblings. As a boy he received little formal education, instead helping his father to work the family’s land. But Joan’s destiny was for music, not agriculture. Fashioning his first guitar from fishing line and a discarded metal box, he joined his young brothers and sisters to form a family band. Nicknamed “Los Candes” (after their father Candelario) it became a neighborhood sensation. At age 13 Joan hitched a ride to Santo Domingo and went on to nurture his talent working with some of the island’s greatest bachata stars. In September 2010, iASO Records launched his first solo release: El Duque de la Bachata. The album spent several weeks on the Billboard charts, won best World Beat Album of 2011, and was on rotation on 100 radio stations. 2012 saw the release of La Familia Soriano, which featured not only Joan but brother Fernando and sisters Nelly and Griselda. Their newest release, Me Decidi, includes not only Joan’s siblings but his newest sister in music, Andre Veloz.
Bachata is essential to Dominican culture and draws upon a variety of influences from Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. A practitioner of palo and gaga, Joan blends AfroDominican sacred traditions with bachata, imparting his music with down to earth spirit and danceability. Joan preserves bachata’s roots and expands on them. He is a rare combination of new and authentic.
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