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Aventura

Aventura

A New York-based, Dominican boy band with their roots deep in bachata? If that sounds unlikely, well, Aventura have managed to cope with it. Formed in 1994 in the Bronx by a group of four boys (Anthony Santos, Lenny Santos, Max Santos, and Henry Santos Jeter) who were determined to break Dominican bachata music out from its traditional base and fuse it with the other sounds they heard every day, like hip-hop and R&B. Interestingly, unlike other youths seeking success, they didn't give themselves over to a producer who might mold their sound; instead, they proceeded to learn all the skills they needed themselves, from production to instruments. Their real break came in 1999. Signed to BMG, they released their debut — with an outside producer. The material, however, was their own, and they resisted the attempt to turn them into a cookie-cutter boy band in the Backstreet Boys, *N'Sync style by ensuring the bachata element remained dominant. However, it fell between the cracks of both the burgeoning Latin movement, and the pop/R&B chart-toppers. Three years would pass before they released We Broke the Rules, in which time they worked hard to refine what they were doing, and find a true direction. Whatever they did, it appeared to work, as the single "Obsesion" became a hit with Latin youth, finding a strong crossover into hip-hop. However, as the album's title promised, they did break all the bachata rules, bringing the style very much into the new Millennium without sacrificing the style's roots. While catching a growing U.S. audience, they also became popular in Europe, thanks to frequent touring and a different sound. In 2003, they returned with Love & Hate, which saw them progressing even further with their sound, adding merengue into the mix, and upping the R&B/hip-hop quotient without losing touch with their background, singing in Spanish, English, and Spanglish. — Chris Nickson.

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