Dominican troubadour Puerto Plata makes a comeback
In the early part of the 20th century, the musical style known as son became all the rage not only in Cuba, but the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico as well. Performed by a trio or quartet wielding acoustic guitars and light percussion, son’s lyrics told stories about the lives and loves of the people. But in the early ’30s in the Dominican Republic, the infamous dictator Rafael Trujillo denounced it in favor of a watered-down ballroom-style big-band merengue, and Dominican son was forced into the shadows.
“El Señor, the dictator, made his law, and said here we must play only [Cuban] danzón, [Puerto Rican] danza and, principally, [Dominican] merengue,” said José Manuel Cobles, popularly known as Puerto Plata.
Last year, at age 83, Cobles released his first album, “Mujer de Cabaret (Cabaret Woman)” on IASO Records.