photo: Ethan Miller

Aventura is back.

The legendary four-man bachata band takes over Radio City Music Hall for five nights in one week this month, beginning with a concert on Monday, March 16.

The award-winning, self-styled “Kings of Bachata” — made up of Anthony “Romeo” Santos (lead singer), Henry Santos (singer), Max Santos (bass) and Lenny Santos (guitar) — perform on the next three nights (March 17-19), finally punctuating their highly anticipated run with one more show on Sunday, March 22.

Aventura released five albums, three live albums and many hits from 1999 to 2009, solidifying itself as a force in Latin music with 2002’s “We Broke the Rules” behind the mega-hit single “Obsesión.”

The band disbanded amicably in 2011 following the tour attached to the 2009 album “The Last,” which netted the quartet an American Music Award for Favorite Latin Artist (2009).

Each member subsequently embarked on solo efforts, leaving fans wondering if or when there would ever be a reunion beyond occasional live performances, such as the one at Yankee Stadium in July 2014 and another at MetLife Stadium last September alongside “I Like It” rap star Cardi B.

Leading up to the April 2019 release of Romeo Santos’ fourth solo album, “Utopía” — a 13-track opus that included “Inmortal,” Aventura’s first single since splitting up — we asked the singer whether an eventual reunion was in the works.

“It’s like we never left,” Santos said of producing “Inmortal,” which won Aventura a Billboard Latin Music Award (Tropical Duo/Group of the Year) and is the name of the group’s current concert tour. “The chemistry from that dynamic that we feel, whether we’re in a studio session, on the stage, it’s always a beautiful thing. Those guys are my brothers. We’re family; we just have this complete chemistry that you can’t even explain in words. Lenny knows exactly the accompaniment on the guitar that I need. Mikey’s baseline … everything is just basically perfect.”

“It’s nearly a decade since the group broke up, though I don’t like describing it that way,” he added. “Creatively, we had evolved and just went our separate ways. (With ‘Utopía’), I wanted to give people a musical journey of my culture, and I felt like you can’t tell a bachata history story without mentioning Aventura. I say that humbly; I don’t mean that in an arrogant way. I just feel like Aventura revolutionized bachata, and I figured that this was a good moment to do something with the (band).”

"The chemistry from that dynamic that we feel, whether we’re in a studio session, on the stage, it’s always a beautiful thing."- Romeo Santos

Before rebranding themselves as Aventura in 1996, the Bronx-reared Dominicans were originally known as Los Tinellers upon forming a year prior, when they released the album “Trampa de Amor.”

Brothers Lenny and Max Santos met Anthony Santos (no relation) through a mutual acquaintance, and Henry Santos (Anthony’s cousin) joined shortly afterward.

The latter part of the band’s original name marketed the members’ youth and multicultural upbringing, as it’s a Spanish phonetic spelling of the word “teenagers.” Additionally, Aventura was modeled after the late-1990s boy band archetype, and its interpretation of bachata was heavily influenced by hip hop, rock and R&B.

The Aventura sound, as it were, was resisted by genre traditionalists, but anyone left in that faction of bachata artists, consumers and critics after the group’s 1999 album, “Generation Next,” became the converted with the aptly-titled “We Broke the Rules” three years later.

They broke the rules very successfully, making Dominican blues — as bachata is alternatively labeled — palatable to Latinos born in the 1970s and ’80s in the U.S. and Latin America.

Said influence extends to bachata followers and artists born during the 1990s and 2000s, because that younger generation doesn’t know a world in which the genre’s rules weren’t already broken.

Aventura featured Wyclef Jean and Ludacris on its album “The Last” (“Spanish Fly”), and Anthony Santos featured Drake, Nicki Minaj, Carlos Santana, Marc Anthony, Lil Wayne and Usher on previous solo albums, so the group’s vision has attracted noted collaborators from well outside of a genre that it redefined.

What’s next? So far, fans have gotten the single “Inmortal,” the so-named tour currently taking place — but no announcement of another Aventura album.

“The fans are not gonna have (any) time to process what happened and just enjoy it — whatever it is we’re doing as a group,” Romeo Santos said when we spoke last spring, adding that he wants any huge announcement to be a surprise.

For now, New Yorkers who love Aventura will have to “settle” for watching their favorite bachateros perform at Radio City Music Hall later this month.

Get Tickets to See Aventura Live Here


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