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Javier Gutiérrez, better known as Mala Fe, was born in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. In love with music from a young age, Gutiérrez began his daily practice routine of congas and voice at the age of eight. He worked faithfully on his craft, dreaming of the day when he might join his brother's band, La Tropa, a group that specialized in perico ripiao, the folkloric precursor to modern-day merengue. Gutiérrez soon joined up as one of the group's percussionists, who were known for their complex rhythmic breaks.