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Marino Pérez



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Marino Perez

By David Wayne

During the 1970s and 1980s, bachata was much maligned in Dominican society for its association with poverty, rural backwardness, delinquency, drunkenness and prostitution. Aware of the dim view taken of their music by mainstream society, some bachateros like Leonardo Paniagua and Luis Segura attempted to distance themselves from the genre by recording covers of foreign baladas and other more acceptable music. Other bachateros instead embraced the lifestyle of the urban bars and bordellas where bachata thrived and sang freely about drinking, fighting and life in the brothels. The singer who is best known for unabashedly trumpeting the lifestyle of the bachatero is Marino Perez. With candid feeling and dark humor, Perez sang the story of bars and barrios where jealous lovers quarrel, men and women betray one another, insults are traded, and the ubiquitous bottle of rum is always present. This was not a fictional life for Perez, but one he actually lived, and it was a world and a way of life which eventually killed him.

Marino Perez was born in Guayabo Dulce, a campo near the eastern city of San Pedro de Macoris. Even those closest to him hesitate to guess Marino’s age; while he was still uncommonly young-looking into his thirties, by the time he died in the mid-1990s alcoholism had transformed his features into those of a man old before his time.

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