Music and Art of Santo Domingo

Even the street posts are painted with art!

Even the street posts are painted with art!

I’m finally home from the Dominican Republic but I have to share about the music and art that were everywhere during my last day in Santo Domingo. The city is full of art! Walk into any shop, and there are paintings by local artists, and musical instruments for sale. Here’s a salesman trying to sell a güira, which is a local percussion instrument used in merengue and other local music:

Sit down on any restaurant patio in Santo Domingo and a group of musicians will probably come over and try to serenade you while you dine, asking for tips afterwards, of course.Table to table

The Ministry of Tourism hosts all sorts of free music events in the city. We got to see a few of them, and they are really exceptional — both the performances, but also the positive vibe in the audiences. This first band in the video below is Cuban, performing in front of the ruins of the old monastery of San Francisco. The second band is local, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the April Revolution, when there was a civil war in Santo Domingo.

These kinds of performances happen weekly, but there are others that happen every day. As we walked down the Conde (the main street of the old colonial neighborhood), there were street performers day and night. Here are a few talented examples I caught on camera:

A real highlight of yesterday was happening upon the International Santo Domingo Book Fair at the Plaza de la Cultura. I’ve been to the Boston Book Festival, and this was MUCH bigger. Book FestivalThere were hundreds of stands, with all sorts of ways to learn about the culture of the Dominican Republic and beyond. There was even a Korean tent! There were, of course, lots of books, but there were also craftsmen, food stands, performances, and more. It was really an exceptional event (click on any photo below to see it bigger).

Several of the local museums were also free for the festival. My favorite was the Museum of Modern Art. Contemporary art is VERY different from the ancient artifacts we saw earlier that morning at a flea market. Those date back to Taino times!

The modern art was futuristic and fun, and I found it to be very original.

I definitely recommend Santo Domingo if you like seeing interesting music and art! I’d love to go back and see more, but for now, it’s back to my normal life here in Massachusetts. I will be posting a few more entries from my Dominican trip, so stay tuned.Street Performers

Categories: Caribbean

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