Merengue Music

By : Jared Burkhardt

  • Merengue is popular is popular throughout many spanish countries, including the Dominican Republic in particular.
  • Merengue originated in the Dominican Republic and is most commonly played, danced, and listened to there.
  • Merengue wasn't mentioned until the mid 19th century.
  • It's popularity began in the northern valley region near Santiago.
  • From there it spread throughout the country and quickly displaced Tumbe, the previous top music genre in the Dominican Republic.
  • The music genre and dance style of merengue became the country's official music and dance style in the 1930's and 60's as Rafael Trujillo (the country's dictator at the time) promoted it.
  • Merengue is a fast arrangement of 2/4 beats and is considered a fun, cheerful, and upbeat style of music and dance.
  • For a while, merengue was played with mostly stringed instruments and drums (strings being the lead instrument).
  • When Germans went to island in the late 1900's to trade instruments for tobacco, accordions were introduced to the music, and quickly passed stringed instruments in popularity.
  • By the 1930's and 50's, a Marimba was popularly used to create a bass in the music.
  • From the 1990's to now, merengue bands commonly consist of 5 people playing an accordion, sax, tambora (a drum), a bass guitar, and a güira.
  • Some bands may even throw in keyboards, congas, or timbales to make their music more unique.
  • There are hundreds of music festivals and gatherings around the world where merengue is listened and danced to.
  • Mixtures of merengue and other genres are gaining popularity throughout the world and subgenres will emerge in the future.
Dominican Night--A traditional Dominican Dance!
Above is a video of traditional merengue song and dance.