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Juan Luis Guerra

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Biography

Juan Luis Guerra (born June 7, 1957 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) is the most internationally recognized Dominican singer/songwriter. His pop style of Merengue and Bolero and Afro-pop/Latin fusion have garnered him considerable success outside the Dominican Republic. Juan Luis Guerra is sometimes associated with the popular Dominican music called Bachata, and while this association is partially true, he actually uses the basics of Bachata rhythm with a more bolero feel to the melodies in some of his songs. But he does not limit himself to one style of music, so he incorporates diverse rhythms like Merengue, Salsa, Balada, Rock & Roll, and Gospel. “Ojalá que llueva café” is one of his most acclaimed pieces.

Education

After studying philosophy and literature for a year at the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, Guerra switched to the Conservatorio Nacional de Música. Guerra was a great admirer, at this time, of the Beatles music.

After finishing his studies at the Santo Domingo conservatory, Guerra went to the Berklee College of Music in Boston to study composition and arranging in 1979.

Career

After his return to the Dominican Republic, he released his first album, Soplando (1984) with a group of local musicians which subsequently became known as Juan Luis Guerra y 440. Note that the band’s name in Spanish is officially publicized as Cuatro Cuarenta (Four Forty), a shortening of the normally strict reading of number four hundred and forty.

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