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8/2/2021 Reps. Diaz, Felix, Perez, Batista and Sen. Quezada mourn Dominican music legend Johnny Ventura, dead at 81
STATE HOUSE — Rep. Grace Diaz (D-Dist. 11, Providence), along with Rep. Leonela “Leo” Felix (D-Dist. 61, Pawtucket), Rep. Ramon A. Perez (D-Dist. 13, Providence, Johnston), Rep. José F. Batista (D-Dist. 12, Providence) and Sen. Ana B. Quezada (D-Dist. 2, Providence) — all of Dominican descent — are mourning the loss of Johnny Ventura, a merengue music legend from the Dominican Republic, who has died at the age of 81.

“This is a terrible loss not only for the Dominican Republic, but for the whole world,” said Representative Diaz. “His talent and determination transformed merengue from a simple Dominican folk music to an international phenomenon, brining Afro-Caribbean culture to a global audience.”

Johnny Ventura, who succumbed to a heart attack on Wednesday, led the surge in interest in Latin music that swept through the Americas in the 1960s.

In later years, he took an interest in politics and was elected mayor of the Dominican capital, Santo Domingo in 1998. While serving in that capacity, his term in office was defined by his leadership in dealing with a housing shortage in the city.

“Johnny Ventura ‘El Caballo Mayor’ epitomized the Dominican spirit of giving himself to his community through his music, his business ventures and as a public servant. He was an immense artist, whose music inspired and uplifted many,” said Representative Felix. “We join the Ventura family in mourning the loss of this legend who one way or another, touched people all over the world with his talent and humility. May his life and legacy live forever in our hearts through his music and our culture.”

“He was a great inspiration to the Dominican community,” said Representative Perez. “Through his chosen music, his voice helped to transform a generation and allowed the whole world to experience the best of Dominican culture.”

“This is a sad day for Dominicans and all others who were touched by the talent of this great man,” said Senator Quezada. “The Dominican community in Rhode Island has suffered a terrible loss and we will remember him in our thoughts and prayers.”

Representative Batista said, “His genius in vocals and arranging brought the best of Dominican folk music to a mainstream audience. He will forever be remembered as the soul of merengue, and his loss will leave a void in the industry that can never be filled.”

Representatives Diaz, Perez and Senator Quezada are all natives of the Dominican Republic. Representative Felix, who was born in Boston, grew up in the Dominican Republic, and Representative Batista is the son of a Dominican immigrant.

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903