Yo sé como hacerlo
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The Joan Soriano Story begins when he is 6 years old in the small rural town of La Luisa and follows him through his tenacious journey to become a bachata musician. We invite you to learn about the music of the Dominican Republic and its roots in African music an instruments. The book is meant to be taught as a class novel. For that reason we’re offering every resource we used to write the book to teachers on this page. The songs, the lyrics, the music videos, two full documentaries (these were my sub plans the year I lost was sick and lost my voice for a week!) instructional videos on how to dance bachata, bachata footwork, the presentations on the history of the genre and more. If you are teaching the novel, please let us know, as we are both so happy that this book is finally available that we would love to send you more resources. The people in this book are real, as are the consultants who helped us craft the story. We can’t wait to hear from you and your students.
An Exclusive Interview with Joan Soriano
If you are reading this on your own because you are a fan of Joan Soriano or are learning Spanish, please enjoy the resources on this page.
Documentary on Joan Soriano by Adam Taub
El documental “Juana y Candé: Un Retrato de Una Familia Dominicana” muestra la vida y valores de una pareja casada y su familia, viviendo en un campo de la República Dominicana. Dirigida por Adam Taub. El documental es un recurso para estudiantes y profesores de español, antropología, y los estudios del America Latina, el Caribe, y cine etnográfico.
Que es la Bachata en La Republica Dominicana? “BACHATA El Idioma Dominicana.” “Se Lleva en La Sangre.” Video de baile y entrevistas, cultura, y historia con Dominicanos. Es un orgullo Dominicano. Que viva la Bachata. Grabado por Adam Taub en los campos, colmados, discos, barrios, y bataye.
La Bachata es un orgullo Dominicano! ¿Pero que es La Bachata? Grabado por Adam Taub, aquí vemos gente bailando Bachata y hablando de qué significa la Bachata. Bachateros hablan de que es La Bachata y la historia. Grabado en La República Dominicana donde se nació La Bachata tiene músicos como Edilio Paredes, Luis Segura, Martires de Leon, Nano Paredes, y mucho más.
Video nuevo, La Flor
Que pasará mañana
Live in Concert, Belgium Vocales de Amor (A.M.O.R.)
What people are saying about Yo Sé Cómo Hacerlo by Joan Soriano and Karen Rowan
Review of Yo Sé Cómo Hacerlo, by Joan Soriano and Karen Rowan
Stephen Krashen 11/2/2022
To properly review Como Hacerlo, I have to discuss some ideas about learning, some old ideas that now appear to me to be correct and important. Como Hacerlo , in addition to being a compelling story and of real benefit to those wanting to improve their Spanish, is a clear confirmation of these ideas and is thus a very important book.
IDEA 1: We each have our own path.
The Persian philosopher Rumi stated “the path hypotheses” perfectly: “Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.” Melville emphasized the strength of the pull of the path: “The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails whereon my soul is grooved to run.” (from Moby Dick)
Como Hacerlo is told by Joan Soriano, who felt the pull of his path, the strong desire to be a musician, knew what instrument he was destined to master, and even what kind of music he should be playing when he was very young.
IDEA 2: We learn not by “study” but by solving problems that are part of our path.
Joan Soriano, in constructing and learning to play his home-made instrument, had a first-class education in music, as well as learning how to relate to others.
IDEA 3. Being on your path and learning while being on the path produces happiness. The “work” is often considered to be “fun.” It does not consist of “harrowing challenges … but rather tasks we find natural and interesting, tasks we were apparently born to perform” (Kurt Vonnegut, 1997)
Joan Soriano enjoyed (and continues to enjoy) a happiness few others have, the happiness of mastering his profession and the happiness of sharing his talent with others. Practicing his instrument and learning new songs did not require discipline. Nor does performing his music.
Idea 4: Being on your path fulfills an important purpose of your life.
Soriano earns a living from his music, but it is clear that loves to perform for others. It clearly feels like it is part of his purpose and produces a deep satisfaction. “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” (Picasso).
Don’t give up on your dreams!
This book is a treasure. I tells a beautiful story about a man’s journey to become what he always dreamed of doing. The language used is simple to understand, even for beginner speakers. And one gets to learn about Dominican culture and bachata history.
I read it and translated it to my little niece. She understood a lot of what I was reading to her, and now she’s very eager to learn Spanish and she even wants to learn to play guitar.
I highly recommend this book to Spanish learners of any age. Joan Soriano has something to teach all of us.
Discover bachata through the eyes of a child
I really enjoyed reading Joan Soriano’s story. The book allows us to discover bachata through the experiences of a child who falls in love with the music: “He was only six years old, but his heart was already beating to the rhythm of bachata”. Joan was only a child when he decided to become a musician. His first guitar was a tin can with fishing lines. He came from a poor background, but through determination and the support and love of his family the boy achieved his dream. This is a beautifully illustrated story with an inspirational message for our students. But also an open door to the culture of the Dominican Republic and its music.
Wonder Story and Resource For Spanish Language Learners
This inspirational story about Dominican Bachata musician, Joan Soriano’s musical journey is a wonderful resource for Spanish language learners and teachers! Full of engaging text and illustrations, Yo Sé Cómo Hacerlo incorporates rich cultural aspects related to life in the Dominican Republic and Bachata culture and history. I met Joan Soriano in 2007 when I began filming the documentary film, El Duque de la Bachata, about his life and struggle to make it as a working Bachata musician. Now, during film screenings and Bachata lectures around the world I often share Joan’s story with audiences. The story about a boy and his first little tin can guitar that went on to become a professional Bachata musician. I’m very happy to that this engaging story is now in book form, wonderfully written and illustrated. Spanish learners and teachers along with those interested in Bachata and Dominican culture will find this book of great interest.
I really enjoyed this story as I found it very authentic. I could see and feel Joan’s voice through out the whole text. I was inspired by his story, his perseverance and his talent. The book is written in an accessible Spanish, perfect for a language classroom. I know my students will enjoy this book a lot and will be inspired as well, specially my musical students.
The Cutting Room Floor:
Research and notes on the book “Yo sé cómo hacerlo” that did not end up in the book.
Más información sobre Trujillo
Trujillo, the dictator of the Dominican Republic prohibited bachata to be played on national radio. All radio was under the control of the government. He approved only sophisticated music like Salsa and Merengue. Bachata was crude. The bands in the city of Santo Domingo played Merengue and Salsa at the clubs he visited. Bachata was considered the music of the poor, of the lower class, of those who lived far from the city in the countryside. Bachata was played in the brothels and underground bars, but never in the expensive clubs. It was a way for the people to express their own experiences.
Joan Soriano’s father, Candelario, had grown up on a large plantation of cacao and coffee. His father, Joan’s grandfather, had been a serious man who grew and ground the coffee. As a child Candelario remembers never being hungry. “Trujillo came and stole it,” he says. During the dictatorship of Trujillo many families lost their land. Candé says he could not even look up toward that hill because the memories of what his family had lost were too painful.
Trujillo was assassinated in 1961. The first bachata was played on the radio in the Dominican Republic in 1962. 55 miles from the city of Santo Domingo in La Luisa, Joan Soriano was born in 1972. He was the 7th of 14 children born to Juana and Candé.
Más información sobre la bachata
La música de los campesinos de la República Dominicana era para la gente rural. La bachata también se llamaba “el amargue.” Era el sufrimiento de vivir pobre en el campo bajo el sol del Caribe. Era la pena de perder. Tocaban la música de los campesinos. Tocaban la música criolla. Tocaban la música de los pobres.
En la ciudad de Santo Domingo, de donde venía toda la música profesional, tocaban merengue. En la ciudad tocaban merengue porque al dictador Trujillo le encantaba el merengue y odiaba la bachata. Odiaba la música de la gente pobre. Prohibió la bachata en los clubes. Como era el dueño de las emisoras de radio, también prohibió la bachata en la radio. Por eso, no tocaban bachata. La primera bachata que salió en la radio fue en 1962, un año después del asesinato de Trujillo que fue en 1961. Entre la comunidad de músicos profesionales, la bachata todavía tenía una mala reputación. No era bien vista. Era la música de los pobres, de los campesinos, de los negros, de la gente a la que le faltaba educación.
Primero hubo una hora de bachata en la radio, todos los domingos. Después, hubo una sola emisora que ponía bachata en toda la República Dominicana. La bachata era discriminada en la República Dominicana. En la ciudad solían decir: –Eso de la bachata, no.– Era la música de la clase muy baja. Era la música del campo. No era música sofisticada. No representaba la música de la República Dominicana, decía la gente.
Sin embargo, la gente siguió cantando bachata.
Más información sobre las fiestas:
Hicieron muchas fiestas como las del libro. La palabra para una fiesta en las comunidades rurales de la República Dominicana era “bachata”. Una bachata era una fiesta. La música se llamaba “amargue”, no se llamaba “bachata.”
Con el tiempo, empezaron a llamar a la música en la bachata (la fiesta), “bachata” también. Cuando empezaron a bailar el ritmo llamado bachata, empezaron también a llamar al baile “bachata”.
Más información sobre Trujillo y Bachata
Trujillo era un dictador brutal. Dejó a miles de personas pobres y pocos muy ricos. Mató a miles de personas.
También odiaba la bachata. Prohibió que la tocaran en la ciudad. Prohibió que saliera en las emisoras. Pensó que solamente tocaban bachata en el campo.
Trujillo fue asesinado en 1961. En 1962 la primera bachata salió en la radio. Jose Manuel Calderon, Borracho de Amor. Called Bolero and Amargue.