Musically, the Dominican Republic is known for the creation of the musical style called merengue a kind of live, fast-paced rhythm and dance music consisting of a tempo of about 120 to 160 beats per minute (varies) from elements music like drums, brass and string instruments, as well as some elements unique to the musical style of the Dominican Republic.
It includes the use of the tambora (Dominican drum), accordion and calabash. Its syncopated rhythms use Latin percussion, brass instruments, bass, and piano or keyboard. Between 1937 and 1950, the merengue was promoted internationally by Dominicans groups like, Caracas Boys Billo, Chapuseaux and Damirón Los Reyes del Merengue, Joseíto Matthew and others. Later on it was popularized through the media of television, radio and international; known merengue singers include singer / songwriter Juan Luis Guerra, Fernando Villalona, Eddy Herrera, Sergio Vargas, Toño Rosario, Milly Quezada, Johnny Ventura and Chichi Peralta.
Bachata, a form of music and dance that originated in the countryside and rural marginal neighborhoods of the Dominican Republic, has become very popular in recent years. Their subjects are often romantic, especially prevalent are tales of anguish and sadness. In fact, the original name of this genre are bitter (“bitterness”, or “bitter music”, or blues music), until the more ambiguous (and mood-neutral) term bachata became popular. Bachata grew out of, and is still closely linked to the pan-Latin American romantic called bolero. Over time, it has been influenced by merengue and by a variety of guitar styles of Latin America.
Baseball is the most popular sport in the Dominican Republic. After the United States, the Dominican Republic has the second highest number of Major League Baseball (MLB) players. Some of these players have been considered among the best in the game. Historically, the Dominican Republic has been linked to MLB since Ozzie Virgil became the first Dominican to play in the league. Among major leaguers born in the Dominican Republic are: Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Vladimir Guerrero, Pedro Martinez, Albert Pujos, Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, Miguel Tejada, Juan Marichal, Bartolo Colon, Rafael Furcal, Sammy Sosa, Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez.
Olympic gold medalist and world champion over 400 m hurdles Félix Sánchez hails from the Dominican Republic, like defensive end current San Diego Chargers (National Football League [NFL]), Luis Castillo. Castillo was the cover of the Spanish version of Madden NFL 08.
The National Basketball Association (NBA), has also had players from the Dominican Republic, like Charlie Villanueva, Al Horford and Francisco Garcia. Boxing is one of the most important sports after baseball, and the country has produced dozens of world-class fighters and world champions.