SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – Marc Anthony, Juan Luis Guerra, Wisin & Yandel sang with them on a recent tour.
Mexican singer Thalía didn’t hesitate to do a duet with the group’s leader.
They were received as part of Hispanic Heritage month this past October at the White House, where U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, had front row seats.
Aventura has emerged to become Latin America’s biggest act, as the band’s June release, “The Last,” has become the highest-selling Spanish-language album in the past two years, according to the Nielsen Latin Soundscan, a company that tracks sales.
Aventura’s melodic and romantic bachata, a guitar-based rhythm from the Dominican Republican countryside, has conquered the world – a feat that had only been achieved by the legendary Juan Luis Guerra.
Anthony Romeo Santos (lead vocals), Henry Santos Jester (secondary vocals), Lenny Santos (guitar) and Max “Mikey” Agende Santos (bass) have sold thousands of albums during a period in which the industry has been defined by piracy and low sales.
The band’s key is fusion: It blends hip hop, rap, pop rock, bachata and other tropical rhythms with English and Spanish lyrics. They have created a type of “Spanglish,” which is used in English-speaking areas that have a large Latin American population, like New York City.
With the exception of Henry, who is from Moca, Dominican Republic, the other three are from the Bronx, a borough in New York City. But they have remained true to their Latino roots, enabling them to be accepted by the Latin American community as the Dominican Republic’s prodigal sons.
Need proof? They sold out New York City’s Madison Square Garden – one of the industry’s most illustrious venues – four straight nights last month, tying the mark set by the Rolling Stones.
“At the start, it was difficult for them to command respect with their music, but I was convinced they would achieve it,” said Félix Cabrera, who produced the shows. “Aventura is one of the biggest bands in the history of bachata and without doubt a music phenomenon at the moment.”
“The eccentric Lady Gaga appeared, with her Poker Face, in New York – she had four dates in Radio City Music Hall, which has a capacity of 6,000 people. But Aventura was also in New York with four dates at Madison Square Garden, with a capacity of 19,000 spectators,” wrote the New York Daily News.
At Madison Square Garden, which is nicknamed “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” Aventura performed on a stage in the middle of the floor so everyone in the capacity crowd of more than 19,000 could have a good view of one of the world’s most popular bands.
“Nobody can doubt the reach of their music,” said Franklin Romero, president of Premium Latin Music, the record company that manages Aventura. “They are excellent sellers of music and their lyrics are followed with devotion by a fan base that broadens every day. Aventura have achieved something very rare.”
The band won five awards at Premio Lo Nuestro 2010 in Miami, Fla., on Feb. 19 and could add even more honors to its trophy case. Aventura has been nominated in a dozen categories, including one for best group, at next month’s Billboard Latin Music Awards in Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza, Puerto Rico.
Aventura’s success has sparked established stars such as Puerto Rico’s Chayanne, Spain’s David Bisbal and Mexico’s Alejandro Fernández to venture into the genre.
“Juan Luis Guerra with ‘Bachata Rosa’ opened the doors and broke the barriers,” said Nelson Estévez, president of the Juan & Nelson record label, in a story in the Dominican Republican newspaper Listín Diario. “Nevertheless, the new bachata phenomenon, Aventura, has also contributed to that movement.”