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From their roots as a Bronx-based boy band seeking to fuse bachata with hip-hop, R&B, and pop, Aventura became one of the most influential Latin groups of all time. Their primary signature comprises inimitable, elegant, four-part harmonies, earworm melodic hooks, and rhythmic imagination. Beginning with 2005′s “Ella y Yo” (feat. Don Omar) they placed numerous singles inside the Top Ten, including the chart-toppers “Por un Segundo” and “Dile al Amor.” Further, nine of their albums charted, including 2009′s pop crossover The Last, which topped the list, as did its live follow-up, 2011′s 14 +14. They have won countless Premio Lo Nuestro, Premio Juventud, and Billboard Music awards. After taking a multi-year hiatus in 2011, they returned in 2014 as part of Romeo’s sold-out Yankee Stadium concert, and in 2016 played sold-out shows across Latin America, Europe, and the United States. In 2019 they issued the single “Inmortal” as the final chart-topping track on Romeo’s Utopia album. They followed with a truncated sold-out tour in 2020, playing ten U.S. shows before the COVID-19 pandemic forced them off the road. In 2021, Aventura teamed with Bad Bunny on the chart-topping single “Volví.”
The group was formed in 1994 in the Bronx by four boys of Dominican heritage (Anthony "Romeo" Santos, Lenny Santos, Max Santos, and Henry Santos Jeter) determined to break bachata music into the pop mainstream by fusing it with sounds they heard every day on the radio, including hip-hop and R&B. Unlike other young acts seeking success, they didn’t hand themselves over to a producer who would mold their image and sound. Instead, they proceeded to learn skills needed to succeed, from production and arrangement to songwriting and playing instruments.
After years playing parties and local festivals, they caught a break and signed to BMG. They released their debut long-player, Generation Next, with the assistance of an outside producer (at the label’s insistence). The group insisted on writing their own material, and they successfully resisted the label’s attempt to turn them into a cookie-cutter boy band in the style of the Backstreet Boys or *NSYNC by ensuring bachata remained dominant in all their songs. Unfortunately, the album fell between the cracks of both the burgeoning Latin movement and the pop/R&B chart-toppers.
After touring regionally, opening for other acts, and playing their own shows across the East Coast, they released We Broke the Rules, a blueprint that showcased their mature style. The album title proved prescient as Romeo penned lyrics outside the subjects of romance and heartbreak, and Max’s guitar work strayed from the classic, clean bachata lead and rhythmic styles by employing all manner of electronics and effects. Further, Lenny was the first to incorporate funky slap bass and chordal rock riffs into bachata. “Obsesión,” the set’s first single, became a hit with Latin audiences, finding a strong crossover into hip-hop. The album peaked at number 56 on the Top Latin Albums list.
While growing a North American audience, they also became popular in Europe, thanks to frequent touring. In 2003, they returned with Love & Hate, which saw them experimenting even further with their sound, adding merengue into the mix and upping the R&B/hip-hop quotient without losing touch with their background, singing in Spanish, English, and Spanglish. The set reached number 66 at Top Latin Albums. These releases, promising and adventurous as they were, were a prologue to 2005′s God's Project. Widely regarded as the group’s best album to date, it went all the way to number five on the Latin albums list and netted the chart-topping single “Ella y Yo” (feat. Don Omar); they followed with the two-CD/one-DVD set K.O.B.: Live.
By 2007, Aventura were one of the biggest Latin groups in the world. They became the first bachata group to sell out Madison Square Garden in the round. Later that year they released Kings of Bachata: Sold Out at Madison Square Garden featuring guest performances from Miri Ben-Ari, Wisin & Yandel, and Don Omar. It topped the Tropical and Latin albums charts and placed inside the top half of the Top 200. That same year, they also took home two Lo Nuestro awards and three Billboard Music Awards.
These successes set the table for their fifth studio outing, 2009′s The Last. The best-selling set featured guest appearances from Wyclef Jean, Ludacris, Akon, and Wisin y Yandel. It netted six charting singles including the number ones “Dime el Amor” and “El Malo.” The Last became the top-selling Latin album of 2009 and 2010. It spent 23 weeks at number one on the Latin Billboard chart and peaked at number five in the Top 200. Two years later, the audio-video set 14 Plus 14 arrived, featuring 14 of the group’s greatest hits along with their accompanying videos. It was a swan song, and they went on hiatus in 2011 to pursue other projects. Romeo and Henry Santos both engaged in successful solo careers while Lenny and Max formed Grupo Vena.
Aventura unofficially reunited in 2014 when they performed together during Romeo’s sold-out Yankee Stadium concert. They officially reunited a year later by announcing a month-long series of concerts at the United Palace Theater in New York. These took place in early 2016. In April 2019 Aventura released the single and music video “Inmortal,” as part of Romeo’s fourth studio album, Utopia. It debuted at number five at Hot Latin Songs, and at number 95 on the Hot 100. Aventura won Tropical Duo/Group of the Year at the Billboard Latin Music Awards and performed “Inmortal” alongside Raulin Rodriguez. They also performed during Romeo’s Utopia concert at the MetLife Stadium, offering “Dile al Amor,” “Todavia Me Amas,” and “Inmortal.” In December, Aventura announced the La Gira Inmortal tour, their first in a decade. It kicked off in February of 2020, but after only ten shows they were forced off the road by the COVID-19 pandemic that canceled live music all over the world.
In August 2021, Aventura surprised fans with the release of the single and video for “Volvi” in collaboration with Bad Bunny. It topped the Hot Latin Songs charts and the video racked up 250 million views during its first two weeks. ~ Chris Nickson & Thom Jurek