Good evening, today I will be presenting a brief overview of the rich history of merengue from the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic is well known for its beautiful beaches and wonderful array of music.
A staple of the culture and national entity, merengue has evolved from the rural music of the campesinos to orchestra of artists, dancers and an ensemble of instruments.Rising from the turmoil of the mid-1900s when the Dominican Republic declared independence from Spain (1844) then from Haiti (1844),
the earliest form of merengue was influenced by the Spanish decema and plena, and the Haitian merengie, which was slower and more sentimental.
It was the music of the lower classes from the rural valley of El Cibao where it was considered obscene because of the sexual references and political issues. The instruments alone represent the cultural influences that contributed to the music’s development:
the European guitar, replaced by the German accordion, which was traded for tobacco;
the African marimba and tambora; ; and the güira from the native Taino Indians, which is still very much associated with Dominican merengue; it is being passed around, and is VERY loud so try to not rub the pick with the instrument.
Often the accordionist led the group, composed and sang with a tight nasal technique. There are three styles of Dominican merengue that are rhythmically similar but distinguished by instruments and range.
(Ripped Parrot – probably the name of a brothel where it was played) is oldest style of merengue, historically appearing in record when moralists tried to ban the music because of its suggestive lyrics and sensual movements. This next clip shows the BaileTipico or folk dance of merengue. See if you can identify some moves that may be viewed as sensual… Can anyone tell me which moves may appear to be sensual? Please remember this is not show and tell. PericoRipiao was popularized by Francisco “Ñico” Lora (1880-1971) who was a skilled improviser and sung/wrote thousands of on-the-spot merengues
Was the choice for the urban Dominican middle and upper classes during the 20th century because the written scores were based on folk merengue melodies rather than sexual overtures. The accordion was replaced by a large brass section, keeping the tambora and güira.Can anyone identify some of the instruments in the picture? Note that the guira and tambora are still part of the ensemble of music.
Merengue de Orchesta changed greatly in the 1960s when Johnny Ventura’s Combo Show introduced the 5-man line-up, a slimmed-down more electric brass section and salsa influences. He then sped up the tempo in the 1970s to match the disco era.In this next clip notice the instruments as well as the way the 5-man line-up changes the dance associated with merengue (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvVUCFk976o )
Was influenced by American rock, R&B, Cuban salsa, bachata (another style of Dominican music (and raggeaton. What instruments would undoubtedly be part of the modern merengue? Sax, tambora, guira, bass guitar, the congas, timbales, and keyboards replaced the sound of the accordion.Juan Luis Guerra and his band 440 was internationalized the modern merengue in the along with the legendary Wilfrido VargasIn the early 1980s, Las Chicas del Can revolutionized the mostly-male bands with an all-woman band, playing internationally. They were the only Domininan all-woman band in history and to date.In the early 1980s, Las Chicas del Can modernized the mostly-male bands with an all-woman band, playing internationally with “Juana la Cubana”. To date they are the only all-woman Dominican merengue band even though they are many female merengueras including Milly Jocelyn y los Vecinos who have been singing for over 20 years, and Giselle, a more recent singer.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jYh3al7tR4
MERENGUE DOMINICANO(Dominican Merengue)<br />Karen M. Adrian<br />
Merengue de Orquesta(Big Band Orchestra)<br />BRASS INSTRUMENTS<br />GUIRA<br />TABMBORA<br />TIMBALES<br />Cimbles<br />CONGAS<br />www.cubaray.com<br />
Johnny Ventura y el Combo Show<br />www.iasorecord.com<br />Johnny Ventura<br />
MerengueModerno(Modern Merengue)<br />www.last.fm<br />Las Chicas del Can<br />
MerengueModerno:<br />A. Identify the array of instruments in this clip<br />B. Identify the difference in dance (compare to “BaileTipico” and “Las Chicas del Can”)<br />Bailando Merengue a lo Dominicano<br />
Music is the pride and identity of a people because it’s also a fusion of sounds and instruments, culture and history<br />www.tqnyc.org/NYC030493/DOMINICAN_REPUBLIC.html<br />www.antillania.com/History_of_merengue.htm<br />