BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
Flushing Town Hall will be transformed into the Dominican Republic during an upcoming performance in which a bachata musician will fuse the sounds of his island nation with palo and gala music.
Joan Soriano will take the Flushing Town Hall stage on March 18, blending the Afro-Dominican sacred traditions of palo and gaga with bachata, which is a genre of Latin American music that originated in the Dominican Republican during the first half of the 20th century and includes European, African and indigenous elements.
Soriano, who was born and raised in the rural Dominican Republic, is one of 15 children. To help his parents, Soriano dropped out of school as a child to work with his father on the family’s farmland until he discovered his love for music.
With his first guitar being created out of a tin can and fishing line, Soriano formed a band with his siblings known as Los Candes. At age 13, Soriano traveled to Santo Domingo, the state’s capitol, where he developed his talent by working with some of the greatest bachata stars.
Creating his own unique style of bachata, which blends palo and gaga with traditional elements of bachata, Soriano has since released seven albums. His record El Duque de la Bachata won the best World Beat Album of 2011 at the Indie Acoustic Project awards.
Palo is an Afro-Dominican sacred music that is popular in the Dominican Republic and uses drum and human voices as the instruments. Palo is played at religious ceremonies as well as at parties and special occasions. Gaga was traditionally performed by Haitian immigrants and their Dominican-born descendents during sugar cane plantations. “Gaga” refers to a person who is not in a “normal” state of mind. While palo is well-known in Dominican culture, gaga is often overlooked and, therefore, is a unique contribution to Soriano’s musical style.
Through his music, Soriano preserves bachata’s roots and expands them by imparting his music with down-to-earth spirit and dance-ability.
According to Flushing Town Hall, “the Afro-infused rhythm that permeates his music will have audience members on their feet.”
Tickets are $10 for members and students and $16 for nonmembers.
Flushing Town Hall continues to open its doors to teenagers for free through its Teen Access Program, which is designed to appeal to students and help foster love in arts and culture in teenagers, ages 13 through 19.
The show will begin at 3 p.m. and kick off with a dance lesson, which will be followed by the concert at 4 p.m.
Soriano encourages guests to wear their dancing shoes as he intends to have everyone on their feet.
For more information, visit www.flushingtownhall.org or call (718) 463-7700 , ext. 222.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400, ext. 144, firstname.lastname@example.org or @reporter_ariel.