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The fusion group Yasser Tejeda & Palotré is making a name for themselves by blending Dominican roots sounds like salve, palo and sarandunga with jazz and rock. They recently released the album Kijombo which pays homage to these folkloric sounds.

In the Dominican Republic, there is a rich and diverse array of folkloric and roots music that spreads across different parts of the country. These rhythms reign in rural areas, and are often tied to cultural or spiritual practices. And while globally, the genres that have come to define to country are merengue and bachata, Afro-Dominican roots music is part of the nation’s soul.

Yasser Tejeda & Palotré are hoping to bring visibility to these local sounds and reimagine what it means to be Dominican, through electrifying fusions and heartfelt lyrics. One of the songs in the album titled “Amor Arrayano,” featuring Grammy-winning artist Vicente García, takes on the Dominican-Haitian border through a love story.

In this segment of “How I Made It,” the band’s frontman Yasser Tejeda walks us through the inspiration behind their latest album Kijombo, and the making of the single “Amor Arrayano.”

BONUS: Yasser Tejeda & Palotré stopped by Latino USA’s office in Harlem for a live performance of their songs “Nuestra Raíces” and “Amor Arrayano.” Wach the performance here.

Featured image courtesy of Yasser Tejeda. 

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