Merengue music

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Not to be confused with méringue. Merengue music_sentence_0

Merengue music_table_infobox_0

MerengueMerengue music_header_cell_0_0_0
Cultural originsMerengue music_header_cell_0_1_0 Mid-19th century, Cibao, Dominican RepublicMerengue music_cell_0_1_1
SubgenresMerengue music_header_cell_0_2_0
Fusion genresMerengue music_header_cell_0_3_0
Regional scenesMerengue music_header_cell_0_4_0
Other topicsMerengue music_header_cell_0_5_0

Merengue is a type of music and dance originating in the Dominican Republic, which has become a very popular genre throughout Latin America, and also in several major cities in the United States with Latin communities. Merengue music_sentence_1

Merengue developed as a music circa the middle of the 19th century of Central African particularly Congo stylistic origins and has evolved and reached many different markets since. Merengue music_sentence_2

The genre was later promoted even more by Rafael Trujillo, the dictator from 1930 to 1961, who turned it into national music and dance style of the Dominican Republic. Merengue music_sentence_3

In the United States it was first popularized by New York-based groups and bandleaders like Rafael Petiton Guzman, beginning in the 1930s, and Angel Viloria y su Conjunto Típico Cibaeño in the 1950s. Merengue music_sentence_4

It was during the Trujillo era that the merengue "Compadre Pedro Juan", by Luis Alberti, became an international hit and standardized the 2-part form of the merengue. Merengue music_sentence_5

Merengue music was inscribed by UNESCO on the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of humanity Merengue music_sentence_6

Internationally known merengue artists and groups include(d): Juan Luis Guerra, Toño Rosario, Fernando Villalona, Carlos Manuel El Zafiro, Los Hermanos Rosario, Bonny Cepeda, Benny Sadel, Los Toros Band, Sergio Vargas, Eddy Herrera, Wilfrido Vargas, Johnny Ventura, Grupo Rana, Miriam Cruz & Las Chicas Del Can, Joseito Mateo, Luis Ovalles, Angel Viloria, El Cieguito de Nagua, Kinito Mendez, Ravel, Jossie Esteban y la Patrulla 15, Pochy y su Cocoband, Cuco Valoy, The Freddy Kenton Orquestra, Ramón Orlando, Sandy Reyes, July Mateo, Rasputin, Peter Cruz, Alex Bueno, Aramis Camilo, Jochy Hernández, Dioni Fernandez, The New York Band, Anibal Bravo, Conjunto Quisqueya, Elvis Crespo, Olga Tañón, Gisselle, Henry Hierro, Victor Roque y La Gran Manzana and Grupomanía. Merengue music_sentence_7

The popularity of merengue has been increasing in Venezuela. Merengue music_sentence_8

Venezuelan Merengueros include Roberto Antonio, Miguel Moly, Natusha, Porfi Jiménez, Billo's Caracas Boys, and Los Melodicos. Merengue music_sentence_9

Merengue is also popular in the coastal city of Guayaquil in Ecuador. Merengue music_sentence_10

The new line of merengue created in New York City has become very popular amongst younger listeners. Merengue music_sentence_11

Known as "Merengue de Mambo," its proponents include: Omega, Oro 24, Los Ficos, Los Gambinos, Alberto Flash, Mala Fe, Henry Jimenez, and Aybar. Merengue music_sentence_12

Name Merengue music_section_0

Although the etymology of the name can be disputed, there are a few theories about where the word might have derived from. Merengue music_sentence_13

One suggested etymology is that the name merengue derives from meringue, a dish made from egg whites which is popular in Latin-American countries. Merengue music_sentence_14

The connection between the two names is supposed to be that the guiro used in merengue resembles the sound made by the whipping of eggs. Merengue music_sentence_15

The origins of the music are traced to the land of El Cibao, where merengue cibaeño and merengue típico are the terms most musicians use to refer to classical merengue. Merengue music_sentence_16

The word Cibao was a native name for the island, although the Spanish used it in their conquest to refer to a specific part of the island, the highest mountainous range. Merengue music_sentence_17

Literally speaking, the term merengue cibaeño is therefore partially native and so merengue might also be a derivation or mistranslation of a native word related to song, music, dance or festival. Merengue music_sentence_18

Another theory includes Western African words related to dance and music, based on the fact that merengue has African elements in it. Merengue music_sentence_19

History Merengue music_section_1

Merengue was first mentioned in the mid 19th century with the earliest documented evidence being newspaper articles. Merengue music_sentence_20

Some of the articles inform about a "lascivious" dance, and also highlight merengue displacing the Tumba. Merengue music_sentence_21

The genre had originated within the rural, northern valley region around the city of Santiago called the Cibao. Merengue music_sentence_22

It later spread throughout the country and became popular among the urban population. Merengue music_sentence_23

Anecdotal evidence suggests that one of the first merengue song was written in 1844, the year of the Dominican Republic's Independence from Haiti. Merengue music_sentence_24

The song was written as a satire, to mock one Thomas Torres who had deserted his troops in the Battle of Talanquera. Merengue music_sentence_25

The lyrics of the alleged first merengue as follows: Merengue music_sentence_26

This account first surfaced in 1927, as the merengue was beginning to carry favor as an emblem of national identity. Merengue music_sentence_27

However, the song's role as the first emergence of merengue has been often refuted, being cited as a patriotic song or ballad instead. Merengue music_sentence_28

The oldest form of merengue was typically played on stringed instruments. Merengue music_sentence_29

When the accordion came to the island in the 1880s, introduced by German traders, it quickly became the primary instrument, and to this day is still the instrument of choice in merengue tipico. Merengue music_sentence_30

Later on, the piano and brass instruments were introduced to the genre. Merengue music_sentence_31

Musical style Merengue music_section_2

Three main types of merengue are played in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico today. Merengue music_sentence_32

merengue típico, which is usually called perico ripiao, is the oldest style commonly played. Merengue music_sentence_33

The other two types are merengue de orquesta (big band merengue) and merengue de guitarra (guitar merengue). Merengue music_sentence_34

Rhythm Merengue music_section_3

Merengues are fast arrangements with a 4 beat. Merengue music_sentence_35

The traditional instrumentation for a conjunto típico (traditional band), the usual performing group of folk merengue, is a diatonic accordion, a two–sided drum, called a tambora, held on the lap, and a güira. Merengue music_sentence_36

A güira is a percussion instrument that sounds like a maraca. Merengue music_sentence_37

It is a sheet of metal with small bumps on it (created with hammer and nail), shaped into a cylinder, and played with a stiff brush. Merengue music_sentence_38

The güira is brushed steadily on the downbeat with a "and-a" thrown in at certain points, or played in more complex patterns that generally mark the time. Merengue music_sentence_39

Caballito rhythm, or a quarter and two eighths, is also common. Merengue music_sentence_40

The double headed drum is played on one side with a stick syncopation and on the other side with the palm of the hand. Merengue music_sentence_41

The traditional (some say fundamental) signature rhythm figure of merengue is the quintillo, which is essentially a syncopated motif whose pattern is broken by five successive drumhead hits at the transition between every second and third beat, alternating between the hand and the stick. Merengue music_sentence_42

To purists, a merengue without quintillo is not truly a merengue, a viewpoint that has gradually disappeared as other alternate figures are used more frequently (as the one traditionally called jaleo, also known as merengue bomba, wrongly identified as a mixture of merengue and Puerto Rican bomba music, and which actually also has its roots in traditional merengue). Merengue music_sentence_43

Three main types of merengue are played in the Dominican Republic today. Merengue music_sentence_44

Merengue típico, which is usually called perico ripiao, is the oldest style commonly played. Merengue music_sentence_45

In English perico ripiao means "ripped parrot", which suggests controversy but which is said to be the name of a brothel where the music was originally played. Merengue music_sentence_46

The other two types are merengue de orquesta (big band merengue) and merengue de guitarra (guitar merengue). Merengue music_sentence_47

Stylistic changes Merengue music_section_4

At first, merengue típico was played on stringed instruments like the tres and cuatro, but when Germans came to the island in the late 19th century trading their instruments for tobacco, the accordion quickly replaced the strings as lead instrument. Merengue music_sentence_48

Típico groups play a variety of rhythms, but most common are the merengue and the pambiche. Merengue music_sentence_49

In the 1930s–50s a bass instrument was also often used. Merengue music_sentence_50

Called marimba, it resembles the Cuban marímbula, and is a large box-shaped thumb piano with 3-6 metal keys. Merengue music_sentence_51

The main percussion instruments, güira and tambora, have been a part of the ensemble since the music's inception, and are so important that they are often considered symbolic of the whole country. Merengue music_sentence_52

The güira is a metal scraper believed to be of native Taíno origin, while the tambora is a two-headed drum of African origin. Merengue music_sentence_53

Together with the European accordion, the típico group symbolizes the three cultures that combined to make today's Dominican Republic. Merengue music_sentence_54

One important figure in early merengue was Francisco "Ñico" Lora (1880–1971), who is often credited for quickly popularizing the accordion at the turn of the 20th century. Merengue music_sentence_55

Lora was once asked how many merengues he had composed in his lifetime and he answered "thousands", probably without much exaggeration, and many of these compositions are still a standard part of the típico repertoire. Merengue music_sentence_56

He was a skilled improviser who could compose songs on the spot, by request. Merengue music_sentence_57

But he has also been likened to a journalist, since in his precomposed songs "he commented on everything with his accordion" (Pichardo, in Austerlitz 1997:35). Merengue music_sentence_58

His compositions discussed current events such as Cuban independence, World War I, the arrival of the airplane, and US occupation of the Dominican Republic. Merengue music_sentence_59

Among Lora's contemporaries are Toño Abreu and Hipólito Martínez, best remembered for their merengue "Caña Brava". Merengue music_sentence_60

This popular song was composed in 1928 or 1929 as an advertisement for the Brugal rum company, who were then selling a rum of the same name. Merengue music_sentence_61

Brugal paid Martínez $5 for his efforts. Merengue music_sentence_62

Típico musicians continued to innovate within their style during the latter half of the twentieth century. Merengue music_sentence_63

Tatico Henríquez (d.1976), considered the godfather of modern merengue típico, replaced the marimba with electric bass and added a saxophone (it was used before, but infrequently) to harmonize with the accordion. Merengue music_sentence_64

A prolific composer, Tatico's influence cannot be overestimated: nationally broadcast radio and television appearances brought his music to all parts of the country, leading to widespread imitation of his style and dissemination of his compositions. Merengue music_sentence_65

Today, these works form the core of any típico musician's repertoire. Merengue music_sentence_66

Other innovations from this period include the addition of the bass drum now played by the güirero with a foot pedal, a development credited to Rafael Solano. Merengue music_sentence_67

Many of today's top accordionists also began their careers during this period, including El Ciego de Nagua, Rafaelito Román, and Francisco Ulloa. Merengue music_sentence_68

Arrangements Merengue music_section_5

In the 1990s, most groups maintained the five-man lineup of accordion, sax, tambora, güira, and bass guitar, though a few new innovations have been made. Merengue music_sentence_69

Some modern band leaders have also added congas, timbales (played by the tamborero), and keyboards to their groups in an attempt to reach a wider audience and narrow the gap between the típico and orquesta styles. Merengue music_sentence_70

The most popular artist at present is El Prodigio, a young accordionist who is respected among típico musicians of all ages. Merengue music_sentence_71

Though he has become famous for recording his own compositions in a modern style, he is also able to perform all the "standards" of the traditional típico repertoire and is a talented, jazzy improviser. Merengue music_sentence_72

New York-based groups like Fulanito have experimented with the fusion of típico accordion with rap vocals. Merengue music_sentence_73

Young artists such as these have been able to bring merengue típico to new audiences. Merengue music_sentence_74

Merengue típico songs are generally composed in two parts. Merengue music_sentence_75

The first section is rhythmically straightforward and is used to introduce the song's melodic and lyrical material; here, verses are sung and the only improvisation heard occurs at the end of song lines, when the accordion or saxophone fills in. Merengue music_sentence_76

The second section is dominated by improvisation, more complex rhythms, and hard-driving mambo, or the part of the song where melody instruments (sax and accordion) unite to play catchy, syncopated riffs or jaleos which help motivate and stimulate dancers. Merengue music_sentence_77

Típico rhythms include merengue derecho, or straight-ahead merengue, which is the kind of fast-paced 4 time merengue most of us are used to hearing, usually used in the first section. Merengue music_sentence_78

Pambiche or merengue apambichao is similar but usually slower, and can be recognized by the double slap rhythm on the tambora. Merengue music_sentence_79

Guinchao is a third rhythm combining the first two that is commonly heard in the second section of a merengue. Merengue music_sentence_80

Típico groups do not have to limit themselves to merengue as they can also play other traditional rhythms from the Dominican Republic and elsewhere, though this was more common in the past than at present. Merengue music_sentence_81

Mangulina and guaracha are now seldom heard; the latter is a clave-based style in 4 originally from Cuba, while the former is a 8 dance native to the DR. Paseo was a slow introduction to a merengue song during which couples would promenade around the dance floor in stately fashion. Merengue music_sentence_82

Orquesta or big band merengue became the merengue of choice for the urban Dominican middle and upper classes in the twentieth century. Merengue music_sentence_83

Although merengue had been played in upper class salons as early as the 1850s, moralists like then-president Ulises Espaillat succeeded in banning the dance from such locations only two decades later, causing the merengue to effectively die out in the cities. Merengue music_sentence_84

Still, it was kept alive by rural musicians such as accordionist/composer Nico Lora, and it began to reappear in towns of the Cibao during the 1910s. Merengue music_sentence_85

During that decade, several composers, including Julio Alberto Hernández, Juan Espínola of La Vega and Juan Francisco García of Santiago, tried to resuscitate the dance by creating orchestrated, written scores based on folk merengue melodies. Merengue music_sentence_86

One of these was García's 1918 work titled "Ecos del Cibao." Merengue music_sentence_87

Composer Luis Alberti later reported that such pieces, especially the famous tune known as the Juangomero, were frequently played at the end of an evening's program that otherwise featured imported styles like waltzes, mazurkas, polkas, danzas, danzones, and one- and two-steps. Merengue music_sentence_88

While these early efforts in orchestrated merengue generally succeeded only in scandalizing their audiences, the political changes that occurred in the Dominican Republic over the next few years made a resurgence of the merengue possible. Merengue music_sentence_89

The resented North American invasion of 1916 seems to have made the general public more disposed to support autochthonous rhythms over imported ones, though the raucous rural accordion sound was still unacceptable to high-society tastes. Merengue music_sentence_90

Nevertheless, when Rafael Leonidas Trujillo took power in 1930, he imposed the merengue upon all levels of society, some say as a form of punishment for the elites that had previously refused to accept him. Merengue music_sentence_91

The soon-to-be dictator must also have realized the symbolic power of the rural folk music and its potential for creating support among the masses, since he took accordionists with him around the Republic during his campaign tours from the very beginning. Merengue music_sentence_92

Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Merengue music_section_6

Up until the 1930s, the music was considered to be "immoral" by the general population. Merengue music_sentence_93

Its more descriptive and colorful name, perico ripiao (literally "ripped parrot" in Spanish) was said to have been the name of a brothel in Santiago where the music was played. Merengue music_sentence_94

Moralists tried to ban merengue music and the provocative dance that accompanied it, but with little success. Merengue music_sentence_95

Merengue experienced a sudden elevation of status during dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo's reign from 1930 to 1961. Merengue music_sentence_96

Although he was from the south rather than the Cibao, he did come from a rural area and from a lower-class family, so he decided that the rural style of perico ripiao should be the Dominican national symbol. Merengue music_sentence_97

He ordered numerous merengues to be composed in his honor. Merengue music_sentence_98

With titles like "Literacy", "Trujillo is great and immortal", and "Trujillo the great architect", these songs describe his virtues and extol his contributions to the country. Merengue music_sentence_99

Trujillo's interest in and encouragement of merengue helped create a place for the music on the radio and in respectable ballrooms. Merengue music_sentence_100

Luis Alberti and other musicians began to play with "big band" or orquesta instrumentation, replacing the accordion with a horn section and initiating a split between this new, mostly urban style and mostly rural perico ripiao. Merengue music_sentence_101

New York City Latino radio is still dominated by orquesta merengue. Merengue music_sentence_102

Following his election, Trujillo ordered musicians to compose and perform numerous merengues extolling his supposed virtues and attractiveness to women. Merengue music_sentence_103

Luis Alberti and other popular bandleaders created a style of merengue more acceptable to the urban middle-class by making its instrumentation more similar to the big bands then popular in the United States, replacing the accordion with a large brass section but maintaining the tambora and güira as a rhythmic base. Merengue music_sentence_104

They also composed lyrics free of the rough language and double-entendres characterizing the folk style. Merengue music_sentence_105

The first merengue to attain success at all levels of society was Alberti's famous 1936 work, "Compadre Pedro Juan." Merengue music_sentence_106

This was actually a resetting of García's "Ecos," itself based on earlier folk melodies, and thus it upheld a long-standing tradition in merengue típico of creating songs by applying new words to recycled melodies. Merengue music_sentence_107

The new, popular-style merengue began to grow in quite different directions from its predecessor, merengue típico. Merengue music_sentence_108

It became ever more popular throughout the country through its promotion by Petán Trujillo, the dictator's brother, on his state-sponsored radio station, La Voz Dominicana. Merengue music_sentence_109

Musicians like Luis Senior and Pedro Pérez kept listeners interested by inventing new variations like the "bolemengue" and "jalemengue." Merengue music_sentence_110

Merengue does not have as plainly strong African origins as other forms of Dominican music, and therefore did not conflict with Trujillo's racist ideology. Merengue music_sentence_111

Trujillo promoted the music for political gain as a focus of national solidarity and political propaganda. Merengue music_sentence_112

It helped his efforts to unify a Dominican identity. Merengue music_sentence_113

After Trujillo's assassination in 1961, the merengue orquesta underwent great change. Merengue music_sentence_114

During that decade, Johnny Ventura's Combo Show drove crowds wild with their showy choreography, slimmed-down brass section, and salsa influences. Merengue music_sentence_115

In the 1970s, Wilfrido Vargas sped up the tempo and incorporated influences from disco and rock. Merengue music_sentence_116

(The term "orquesta," simply meaning a large musical ensemble, is now used to describe the pop merengue groups based on Ventura's and Vargas's models as well as the older Alberti style.) Merengue music_sentence_117

In addition, a new rhythm called "merengue a lo maco" appeared and was popularized by groups including Los Hermanos Rosario and Cheche Abreu. Merengue music_sentence_118

Far less complicated than other merengue rhythms, it was particularly useful for adapting songs from other styles like bachata, Colombian vallenato, Mexican rancheras, and North American pop. Merengue music_sentence_119

This process of remaking is called fusilamiento and continues to be a source for many merengue hits to this day. Merengue music_sentence_120

Merengue around the world Merengue music_section_7

Merengue has been heard in New York since the 1930s, when Eduardo Brito became the first to sing the Dominican national music there before going on to tour Spain. Merengue music_sentence_121

Salcedo-born, Juilliard-educated Rafael Petitón Guzmán formed the first Dominican-led band in the city with his Orquesta Lira Dominicana, which played in all the popular ballrooms in the 1930s and 1940s, while at the same time Angel Viloria played popular tunes on accordion with his "conjunto típico cibaeño" for Big Apple fans. Merengue music_sentence_122

However, it wasn't until the massive migration of Dominicans in the 1960s and 1970s that the music reached a mass audience. Merengue music_sentence_123

In 1967, Joseíto Mateo, Alberto Beltrán, and Primitivo Santos took merengue to Madison Square Garden for the first time. Merengue music_sentence_124

Later, New York-based groups like La Gran Manzana and Milly, Jocelyn y los Vecinos, a group unusual for being fronted by women, gained a following in the diaspora as well as back on the island. Merengue music_sentence_125

By the 1980s merengue was so big it was even beating out salsa on the airwaves. Merengue music_sentence_126

That decade was also notable for a boom in all-female orchestras, and Las Chicas del Can became particularly popular. Merengue music_sentence_127

Since then, musicians like Juan Luis Guerra, trained at Boston's Berklee school, Tono Rosario and former rocker Luis Díaz have brought merengue even further abroad, truly internationalizing the music. Merengue music_sentence_128

Guerra collaborated with African guitarists, experimented with indigenous Caribbean sounds, and explored Dominican roots music with típico accordionist Francisco Ulloa, while Díaz (an innovator since his work with 1970s folklore group Convite) fused merengue, rock, merengue típico, and bachata in his productions. Merengue music_sentence_129

In the 21st century, orquesta musicians began to voice concern that their style would be eclipsed in popularity by bachata and merengue típico. Merengue music_sentence_130

Perhaps for this reason, some pop merengue singers have gone to extreme lengths to attract attention, such as Tulile and Mala Fe's excursions into women's wear. Merengue music_sentence_131

But even without such antics, recordings by groups like Los Toros Band, Rubby Pérez, Alex Bueno, Sergio Vargas, and the ever-popular Los Hermanos Rosario continue to sell well. Merengue music_sentence_132

Pop merengue also has a remarkably strong following on the neighboring island of Puerto Rico, which has produced its own stars, like Olga Tañón and Elvis Crespo. Merengue music_sentence_133

In more urban settings, merengue is played with all manner of instrumentation, but the tambora and the güira are signatures. Merengue music_sentence_134

Today, merengue de orquesta is most popular. Merengue music_sentence_135

It uses a large horn section with paired saxophones, piano, timbales, hi-hat, backup singers, and conga, in addition to tambora, güira, and bass. Merengue music_sentence_136

In modern merengue típico a saxophone is an addition to the accordion, along with electric bass guitar. Merengue music_sentence_137

A proof of the great adaptability of the music can be found in the Dominican National Symphony's presentation in 2003 of a concert series entitled "Symphonic Merengue", in which the Symphonic Orchestra consisting of woodwinds, brass, strings, and the like played popular tunes. Merengue music_sentence_138

Distribution Merengue music_section_8

Merengue music found mainstream exposure in other areas of Latin America in the 1970s and 80s, with its peak in the 1990s. Merengue music_sentence_139

In the Southern Cone Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, merengue dance lost the characteristic of being danced close together, instead being danced separately while moving the arms. Merengue music_sentence_140

Women in Merengue Merengue music_section_9

Merengue, from its conception and through time, has classically been a male-dominated genre. Merengue music_sentence_141

In recent times, however, the genre has experienced an upheaval of sorts within its “machismo” framework. Merengue music_sentence_142

Several female artists and all-female bands have risen to relative stardom. Merengue music_sentence_143

This upheaval was influenced by the contributions of singer/bandleader Johnny Ventura’s modernization of the sound of merengue in 1960, modernizing the sound from its “big-band”-esque setup with a quickening of tempo and inclusion of a visually-appealing element, with glitzy costumes and choreography. Merengue music_sentence_144

In the early 1970s, trumpeter and singer Wilfrido Vargas furthered the modernization of merengue by including electronic elements and strengthening the focus of a visual stage presence. Merengue music_sentence_145

These two men modernized the merengue stage, thereby increasing the palatability of a female merengue presence. Merengue music_sentence_146

Merengue has ultimately been shaped into being a music style dominated by Latino men. Merengue music_sentence_147

Merengue songs have been built around the idea of “machismo”. Merengue music_sentence_148

Many songs focus on men sleeping with other women and men having several lovers as well. Merengue music_sentence_149

Merengue is a form of art that was intended to make men yearn for the respect of others. Merengue music_sentence_150

However, around the 1960s there was a significant change in merengue music. Merengue music_sentence_151

More and more women began to learn merengue within their home. Merengue music_sentence_152

Women were expected to be serious and earn respect, however, the change in gender norms allowed women to be able to learn the music that the men dominated over. Merengue music_sentence_153

Women in merengue changed the music genre forcing many who learned the “masculine” version to seek interest in learning the more modern version of merengue. Merengue music_sentence_154

One of the most influential women in merengue is Fefita La Grande. Merengue music_sentence_155

Her birth name was Manuela Josefa Cabrera Taveras. Merengue music_sentence_156

She performed for Petán Trujillo, the brother of the Dominican Republic's president, convincing him to give her father a home and a job she can earn money from. Merengue music_sentence_157

Her rise to fame led to a great demand for her performances in New York, the Dominican Republic, and even Europe. Merengue music_sentence_158

Fefita's efforts forced men to work alongside women in merengue and accept that there is a place for them. Merengue music_sentence_159

Female merengue bands began to emerge in the mid-1980s, beginning with pianist Belkis Concepcion's band in 1984, Las Chicas del Can. Merengue music_sentence_160

They are known by their fans as Las Reinas del Merengue, or in English, The Queens of Merengue. Merengue music_sentence_161

The band currently consists of eleven members, including horns, rhythm, dancers, and singers. Merengue music_sentence_162

After Belkis Concepcion left the band in 1985, Miriam Cruz took over as lead vocalist and led the band on tours through Europe. Merengue music_sentence_163

Soon after Concepcion followed the “mother figure” of merengue—Milly Quesada. Merengue music_sentence_164

She led the group Los Vecinos, which includes her sister Jocelyn and cousins Rafael and Martin, based out New York City. Merengue music_sentence_165

This group is cited one of the first to subvert the “macho” barrier of merengue. Merengue music_sentence_166

In reference to this female-merengue phenomena, Jocelyn Quesada states, Merengue music_sentence_167

Yet another notable all-female merengue group is the trio Chantelle. Merengue music_sentence_168

The women are Puerto Rican, not Dominican, and both this and their gender play testament to the fact that the genre of merengue is growing in popularity. Merengue music_sentence_169

The Dominican Republic was a country that was based on machismo culture. Merengue music_sentence_170

Men were known for dominating the music style of merengue, so when female merengue bands emerged, it was a shock to the men. Merengue music_sentence_171

Las Chicas del Can was the first all-female band from the Dominican Republic formed in 1981, which paved the road for other Latina artist's. Merengue music_sentence_172

Las Chicas del Can were known as “Las Reinas de Merengue”, which means “The Queens of Merengue”. Merengue music_sentence_173

They were often known for their hit single, “El Negro No Puede”, which was later remade by Shakira, in her song “Waka Waka”. Merengue music_sentence_174

Las Chicas were extremely successful, they received several platinum and gold records. Merengue music_sentence_175

Las Chicas Del Can not only sang and danced, but also played a variety of instruments such as the trumpet, Conga drums and the guitar. Merengue music_sentence_176

In performances and music videos Las Chicas wore sultry outfits, which attracted the men's eye. Merengue music_sentence_177

Las Chicas were an empowering band that challenged the gender norms and proved that women are capable of also being successful merengue artists. Merengue music_sentence_178

In the beginning of the 2000s, Shakira, Colombian award-winning, solo pop singer and dancer, made an appearance with a song that touched upon both merengue and dance music called, "Rabiosa". Merengue music_sentence_179

She is widely known by her fans for her song "Hips Don't Lie" that was released in 2005, but her song "Rabiosa" marked a unique mixture of Latin pop and merengue. Merengue music_sentence_180

In Colombia, many men and some women see only men as being suitable for positions of power. Merengue music_sentence_181

And in her song, Shakira challenges this by instead of having the men be in possession of power, the woman is the one who has men "hacienda cola", or in English, lined up for her. Merengue music_sentence_182

With the song being free-spirited and careless, she breaks through the "machismo" structure by promoting sex appeal throughout the song. Merengue music_sentence_183

There are even scenes of her in the music video that showcase her pole dancing, counteracting the idea of women having to hold a serious and respectable reputation. Merengue music_sentence_184

Milly Quezada was born as Milagros Quezada Borbon on May 21, 1955. Merengue music_sentence_185

She is a singer in Latin America. Merengue music_sentence_186

Her hometown is Dominican Republic. Merengue music_sentence_187

She graduated from New York City College with a communications degree. Merengue music_sentence_188

Then she was known as the Queen of Merengue. Merengue music_sentence_189

Milly Quezada was known as La Reina de Merengue, she had a group with her two brothers and sister called “Milly, Y Los Vecinos.” The band would write songs about women's independence and freedom of choice. Merengue music_sentence_190

Milly wrote a song “Tengo Derecho” which means “I have the right.” She wrote the song about being equal and explaining that she doesn't need a man to live. Merengue music_sentence_191

Overall, their music is basically about women's empowerment and standing up for yourself. Merengue music_sentence_192

It was argued that much of female merengue artists’ success was due to the promotion of the sex appeal, with the most successful of these artists donning sexually-charged outfits and employing suggestive dance moves. Merengue music_sentence_193

The rise and success of these groups through the 1980s and 1990s characterized a revolution in traditional gender roles, however, these female artists were not necessarily pursuing merengue in a political or feminist manner. Merengue music_sentence_194

Many of the female merengue groups were handled by male merengue musicians, and handled by male managers – hence being widely referred to as “property” of their male managers by the Dominican audience. Merengue music_sentence_195

However, following Frances Aparicio's work on salsa, Dominican anthropologist Carlos Andújar refutes the connection between provocative stage presence and an adherence to classic patriarchal values, arguing instead that erotic dance is an embrace of female sexuality, a commonly pervasive theme embodied in African-influenced artistic expression. Merengue music_sentence_196

See also Merengue music_section_10

Merengue music_unordered_list_0


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merengue music.