Bachata – a guitar-based romantic music that debuted in Santo Domingo’s urban shantytowns in the 1960s – is today one of the hottest Latin genres. Dominicans at home and abroad have embraced bachata as synonymous with national identity. But fans and musicians who were part of bachata when bachata wasn’t cool have not forgotten the social stigma the genre carried for decades. This book interweaves bachata’s history and development with the socio-political context of Dominican identity in both the national and international community. Foundational research is enriched with interviews conducted with bachata musicians and producers, radio announcers, and experts in the field. The author argues that bachata’s early disfavour was a result of the political climate of its origins and deeply rooted ties between class and race, and proposes that the genre’s growing popularity and ultimate acceptance as a symbol of Dominican identity arise from its instrumental and lyrical innovation, and a devoted following among the migrants of the Dominican of the diaspora.