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~Wellesley College Film and Lecture Seek to Illuminate Bachata,
an Overlooked Music of Latin America

For immediate release:
November 11, 2003

Arlie Corday,

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- If you have never heard of bachata, Wellesley College's Mezcla student organization hopes to change all that. On Thursday, Nov. 20, from 7-9 pm in Collins Cinema, the group will present “Santo Domingo Blues: Los Tigres de la Bachata,” a film and lecture describing the struggle of bachata musicians to emerge from the margins of society. Tufts University sociology professor Deborah Pacini-Hernandez will provide a historical and social context to introduce the film and director Alex Wolfe will speak afterward.

“Despite its nearly 80-year existence, bachata continues to be heavily stigmatized,” said Wellesley College junior Celeste Owens, Mezcla lecture co-chair. Bachateros (bachata musicians) compose songs of bitterness that narrate lives greatly affected by political and economic policies of the Trujillo dictatorship and the Balaguer Era that followed the Dominican civil war of 1965, she explained.

“Mezcla feels that the screening of Santo Domingo Blues and the accompanying lectures are essential to the understanding of an often overlooked society of Latin America,” said Owens, who hopes to “promote bachata as a legitimate form of cultural expression and foster an appreciation for Dominican culture and multiculturalism.”

Wolfe’s film was a hit at the 2003 New York Latino Film Festival, and Pacini-Hernandez is the author of Bachata: a Social History of a Dominican Popular Music. For more information, e-mail

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal-arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries.


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