Joan Soriano | SFJAZZ
Few artists are able to so clearly define the benchmark for an art form that they become totally synonymous with the music they play, but Dominican singer and songwriter Joan Soriano has shown such a devotion to the gritty Bachata folkloric style that The Miami New Times said he “seems to embody the very history of his music.” The seventh of fifteen children, Soriano was drawn to music early, fashioning his first guitar from fishing line and a discarded metal box. After the experience of forming a family band with his siblings developed his skills, he sought his musical fortune in Santo Domingo at 13 and made a name with the greatest artists on the island. Universally called “the Duke of Bachata” by fans and press including NPR (as well as his debut album’s title), Soriano has assimilated the music’s punchy guitar-based rhythms and gutsy, street-born attitude, blended with lyrics steeped in the bitter melancholy the Dominicans call amargue. The guitarist was featured in director Alex Wolfe’s documentary film Santo Domingo Blues and the subject of Adam Taub’s The Duke of Bachata. He has released four albums on the iASO label including his latest, Me Decidí, which combines the bachata sound with an infectious, tropical danceability.