Skip to main content

The Eternal Bolero, Part 3: Staying Alive

Frontera Newsletter   |   Friday, January 7, 2022

“As the end of the millennium drew near, the lyrical bolero seemed like a thing of the past.

Yet, the bolero is not a passing fad, like disco or La Macarena, nor a style stuck in history, like ragtime or the French contredanse. It is very much a living, evolving song style, refreshed by new composers and young generations of fans.

As a song style, the bolero is more comparable to the music of the classic American Songbook, with songs closely connected to truly iconic composers such as Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and stellar songwriting teams such as George and Ira Gershwin and Rodgers and Hammerstein. No matter how many celebrity crooners interpreted their tunes (Sinatra, Bennett, Fitzgerald), the songs were always branded by the songwriters …

The longevity of the genre was confirmed by the bolero renaissance that emerged unexpectedly during the 1990s. The revival was fueled by two separate nostalgia trends that opened and closed the decade like bookends. These twin revivals took root in the two countries that had served as twin fountainheads of the genre: Mexico and Cuba.”

Read more and listen to selections at: