Grupo Bonye: Keeping traditional music alive in the Dominican Republic

There's no shortage of things to see in Zona Colonial (Colonial Zone), the old section of the Dominican Republic capital of Santo Domingo.
Cobblestone streets, ancient landmarks, churches, museums — Zona Colonial is the oldest permanent European settlement in the New World.
The entire stunning area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
On Sunday nights, though, the starring attraction is most definitely Grupo Bonye.
In front of the ruins of San Francisco Monastery, the beloved local band plays a free concert under the stars to end the weekend.
Or kick off the work week, depending on your perspective.
The band plays from 6-10 p.m., though crowds begin gathering nearer the official start time of 5 p.m.
Singers Felix Baez, Nestor Sanchez, Chinese Mendez, Franklyn Soto and Roberto Bobadilla lead the ensemble (and occasional special guests) through a set of traditional Dominican meringue, salsa and son Cubano.
A high point comes at 8 p.m. with a musical tribute to Dominican national heroes set to the song "Quisqueya," with the entire crowd standing and a huge Dominican flag waving from center stage.
Local fans advise arriving up to two hours before the music begins if you want to find a place to sit.
Otherwise, you might as well just plan to dance all night.
Plenty do.

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