What has happened to merengue music! and there artist..

daddy1

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Feb 27, 2004
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Once again I am amazed of how the older generation of Dominican's have brain washed the youth of D.R. and basically put merengue at a stand still because of there closed minded view of what is quality and what is garbage music!! I warned alot of my fellow musicians in D.R. about this including my best friend who played for Ramon Orlando and now is with Sergio Vargas about the consequences if the community continue's there lack of support for there artist and there music.

I mean there were alot of artist who were trying to get out of the mold and make an identity for themselves by creating there own style, but what they got in return was a slap in the face and lack of support from the Dominican community especially back in the island, and when some Dominican arreglista's moved to P.R. and created bands down there they immediately up-staged the Dominican's and over acheived with there softer style of merengue, but Dominican's did not like that either.

What pisses me off is that I am a huge fan of merengue..and I have played in many bands in N.J. N.Y. Miami, and Orlando, we were almost at the point in 2003 to really push and promote our music which has not received any respect from the people who create these music awards, to this day they have not considered merengue an independent category, but they have acknowledged that tex-mex crap! and regional mexicano, GO FIGURE!!! they have called the most popular style of music in all of latin America which is merengue (tropical salsa) I mean all I need is chips and a sandwich with that an I'll be O.K. we were on the verge to make big steps when the un-thinkable happened...Dominican's turned against each other and paralized there own music letting reggetton and the Puerto Rican's munipulate and dominant the latin music world for now,I mean look who's performing in the Presidente festival for crying out loud..foreign artist and old school merengueros, with new artist no where to be seen!

The reason Puerto Rican's were successful in there merengue adventures is because there community supports all of there artists career decisions, not fighting among each other, envying, or critcising. deversity is what the music needed but Dominican's shut down there own artist.. the same way a painter was back in the renaissance era.. when there painting were unusual and different, can anyone shed some light to what is going to happen with this music, because I have come across artist and musicians in D.R. that are struggling and going threw tuff times, why is the Dominican community letting there most popular music play second fiddle to all these other inferior styles?, and why are they not doing something about it?
 

Marianopolita

Former Spanish forum Mod 2010-2021
Dec 26, 2003
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The controversy surrounding merengue

I can certainly understand your concern for the future of Dominican merengue but I don't think this genre is at critical stake yet and is still very much a part of the DR's cultural patrimony. I agree with your second and last paragraph and I have a slightly different take on rest of your comments and the situation as a whole.

Over the past few years merengue has been slowly moved aside due to lack of in country support, professional development of young and upcoming artists and of course marketing. Dominican merengue artists can't compete with PR merengue artists because they don't have the marketing that PR has for the same genre. Reggaeton in my opinion is not a genre of longevity. It seems to be revived periodically if there's a new artist that comes to the forefront to promote it and then it regains popularity. The timing of reggaeton is opportune thus making it easy to make merengue take a back seat. First of all you have to consider the age group that it attracts. Primarily youth and youth in general have a different appreciation for what is traditional.

Merengue artists (or old school merengueros as you called them) who have always kept the genre alive are having difficulty getting contracts simply because merengue has lost its traditional popularity to bachata and reggaeton. The latter as mentioned previously is a reflection of youth preference, marketing and perfect timing. Bachata in my opinion will continue to be not first nor last however part of the public's preferences because it does have a handful of singers who have a history (not Aventura) and support of reputable recording companies. Aventura and their style of bachata in my opinion is the equivalent to what reggaeton artists are doing for that genre right now. It regained quick popularity thanks to Daddy Yankee & Co. but does this genre have a future with its current artists? I have my doubts.

As crazy as it may sound the record company/ label is so key to the survival of an artist. "Los artistas necesitan tener una buena promoci?n". Do you think it's a coincidence that the most popular bachata artists with history and public support of its fans are on the J & N record label? Frank Reyes, Joe Veras, Raulin Rodr?guez, Alex Bueno, Monchy & Alexandra, Vanessa Gil, Wilbert Manuel, Daniel Monci?n and many more. If you don't know about the history of J & N records you may want to do some reading to understand their success.

Merengue is only suffering because it does not have in country support. Relying on the traditional groups and singers who have been around for the past two decades in some cases more is just not a guarantee anymore. I don't think it's a question of whether or not their music is good. It definitely is but record companies are hesitant to take a chance on them because of current trends. As a result, if their music is not being promoted people are going to look elsewhere. It is like any product in the commercial market.

Music and music preferences in general change over time. Merengue is not the only genre that is being challenged. Salsa is in the same position. Apart from a few good long standing groups like el Gran Combo (one of my favorites) many salsa groups were forced to change their style and come up with new nuances in their music or they went on hiatus until they were able regain popularity. Grupo Niche and Orquesta Guayc?n both were on a downslide a few years ago and these groups are two legacies of Colombian salsa. However, I think salsa will survive because of its international acclaim. It's a dance that attracts people and the music goes along with it. Merengue's survival heavily lies on in country support and marketability. The old merengueros still have a lot to give but they need support and the new ones need to be developed and supported by a school for the arts and by professionals.


LDG.
 
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daddy1 said:
why is the Dominican community letting there most popular music play second fiddle to all these other inferior styles?, and why are they not doing something about it?
First what do you mean by inferior styles...
second, the key to any product success is MARKETING. Simple as that. Extending their market outlets must be done and they do more free performances on the island than I've every seen compared to other genres. I too get frustrated when I watch certain latin music awards, and you very rarely see true merengeros perform or winning awards who are from the island or transplanted to the states. When they do, it is usually Juan Luis Guerra who when I talk to Latino's who are not Dominican, they do not know he is Dominican but he has been able to appeal to the wider audience around the latin community and the world, and I like his music very much. Why is he sucessful? One is obviously Marketing. But there can be other factors. Confort zone...When you watch Latin music awards, what do you normally see and what do you see when you see Juan Luis Guerra. Sometimes when I watch Latin music awards, I feel like I'm watching The American Country Music Awards. I will not say any more on that one.

The point is, Merengue music is fine. Its one of the best genres in the world in my book next to Raggae and Cuban Salsa if you ask me because it is a merger of 3 different influences from three different continents or regions. Africa which is the primary influence, Carribean and suttle European influences. That is simply amazing.

When I watch american commericials the rhythem and beats can be heard, yet I bet many people do not know its Merengue. As far as they are concern, they are listening to Mexican music. SO, that is one key issue. The audience needs to know how to distinguish Merengue from other latin music, hince you get merengue plopped in with the rest of the latin music. Everyone knows Raggae when they hear it. Many even can distinguish Cuban style salsa from Puerto rican Salsa, But can the majority people determine if it is merengue. It is obvious that its beats and rhythems are different, but do people really know what genre it is.

I would say no.
 

Hillbilly

Moderator
Jan 1, 2002
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I wish I was a music critic so that I could talk

with a depth of knowledge.
HOwever, looking at this from an historical-cultural point of view, I think that the merengue has lost a bit of its popularity because it lost its relevance to the day to day happenings in the DR.

By that I mean that the older merengues were topical, and critical of politics, politicians and society. They represented a form of expression that represented what the young people and society in general was thinking.

The really old style merenguers-I'm talking Luis Alberti-style merengues-were near folklore in their themes-much like early Juan Luis Guerra (Think Compadre Pedro Juan and Amor del conuco as two examples.

Nowadays hip hop and raggaeton seem to be the out cry of the young...I can't stand it but then look at me! A 60+ year old white dude! No way I can relate to the ghetto-influenced, Upper Manhattan bred raggaeton and its boom boom boom and un-intelligible lyrics...But the kids do, unfortunately. I say unfortunately because they are denying the graceful movements of a real merengue and the sensualality of a salsa or son. More's the pity.

As an asside, perhaps one of the failings was to recognize that many people do not like to dance to a merengue for 15 minutes-a la unending merengues of Sergio Vargas and some of Johnny Ventura's stuff. I can do that kind of a workout in the gym!

Crotchety old HB :D:D:D

Serendipity: At the dinner table this noontime, one of our friends was talking about how wonderful the Friday Nites at LA NUIT discoteque at the Hotel Matum are!! It seems that "F?lix Del Rosario y Los Magos del Ritmo" play there every Friday for an audience that is "over the hill" - at least for the younger set.
So, if you would like to enjoy some of the older merengues, salsas and sons, stop on by La Nuit one of these Fridays....Might even see this HB there..
 
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Hillbilly said:
with a depth of knowledge.
HOwever, looking at this from an historical-cultural point of view, I think that the merengue has lost a bit of its popularity because it lost its relevance to the day to day happenings in the DR.

By that I mean that the older merengues were topical, and critical of politics, politicians and society. They represented a form of expression that represented what the young people and society in general was thinking.

I Have to agree with you on that one HB. Most of the merengue I like are the older ones and it is mainly because of the story behind the music. I also like Hector Acosta(La Voz de Oro) of Los Toros Bands, because he pays much homage to much of the older style of merengue. He is one of the few torch carriers. If you get his live performance CD where he sings among some of the great merengeros singing their songs, you know what I mean.
 
Hillbilly said:
I'll try and look for it.

HB :D:D:D

The actual CD is
Los Toros Band,
Raices en vivo
1999
With 11 great songs below
# El mujeron - H?ctor Acosta
# La mala ma?a - El General Larguito
# El serrucho/ El diente de oro/ Abusadora - H?ctor Acosta
# Ella - H?ctor Acosta
# Rescate Tipico II: Desiderio Arias/ La chiva blanca/ El Mereng?n
H?ctor Acosta, Vinicia Franco, Francis Santana, Joseito Mateo
# Le?a - H?ctor Acosta
# Rescate III: Medio million/ La gallera/ Chanflin/ Sancocho prieto
H?ctor Acosta
# Negrito del Batey - Joseito Mateo/ H?ctor Acosta
# La chiflera - El General Larguito/ H?ctor Acosta
# Rescate I: Compadre Pedro Juan/ P?jaro Choui/ La Agarradero
Joseito Mateo/ Frank Cruz/ H?ctor Acosta/ Vinicio Franco
# So?ar/ Compadre Pedro Juan/ El negro feliz/ El negrito del batey/ San Antonio/ P?jaro choui/ La agarradera
 

Stodgord

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Nov 19, 2004
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I think "Los Merengue sin letras" (Merengue without lyrics), although good to dance to, like those of Oro Solidos are to blame for Lowering the standard in the music. The standard was so low that the tin can beat took over (ie Tulile, Nelson de la olla, Mala fe, etc.) In the mean time, Bachata was on the sideline waiting for its turn. Today, in my opinion, Bachata has become more popular than merengue ever had.

Salsa, is going the same way. Today's Salsa are not danceable. I hate the song "I love Salsa" I think the goup is called "in-tune". This song annoys me.
 
Stodgord said:
I think "Los Merengue sin letras" (Merengue without lyrics), although good to dance to, like those of Oro Solidos are to blame for Lowering the standard in the music. The standard was so low that the tin can beat took over (ie Tulile, Nelson de la olla, Mala fe, etc.) In the mean time, Bachata was on the sideline waiting for its turn. Today, in my opinion, Bachata has become more popular than merengue ever had.

Salsa, is going the same way. Today's Salsa are not danceable. I hate the song "I love Salsa" I think the goup is called "in-tune". This song annoys me.


Hello Keith!!!

Now on this post. I have to disgree with you on this one Stodgord. Especially on La Banda Chula con Nelson de la Olla with the heavy beats and the strong alto saxaphone sounds. That is "Merengue con Mambo" a style of its own. Just like the different genres of Rock or R&B. I find that style quite awsome. Some of the stories in the song can be crude, but much of it, people can relate to and I like at times. They are a bit funny, if you ask me which is a form of entertainment.

Tulile Is a bit wild but he adds a lot more of the African beats to Merengue similar to Kenito. Mala fe also has the very heavy and strong beats with less sax that Merengue con Mambo is known for, but on the other hand, I would not let kids listen to some of his music, simply for the words. Oro Solido is very repetitive...Although his style is Merengue con Mambo, he needs to change up in style more so in the genre, but then again most of the Dominican singers assume a style that is unique to them, almost like Rappers.

So I guess the point is, people would have a better understanding of Merengue when they know the different styles within merengue.
 

Guatiao

El Leon de los Cacicazgos
Mar 27, 2004
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My Opinions

I was going to write the same thing Stodgord wrote but in a different sense.

Oro Solido, Manikkomio, Band Loca, etc. Have damaged merengue because every new merenguero wants to be like them, copy a style and just run. For example since Aventura became popular how many Bachata bands popped up Nueva Era & some other I can't name with the Spanish style...most of them suck, no originality. What I'm trying to say once a particular style in a genre of music becomes popular and is making money people will just do that for the quick dollar while damaging the original genre because the younger generation (media brain washed youngsters) won't understand the difference. Another example is Fulanito, Proyecto Uno y Sandy Y Papo MC merengueros w/ rap successful in the early to mid 90s.

I prefer the old merengueros Juan Luis (of course), Sergio Vargas, Alex Bueno, Los Toros Band, Eddy Herrera (Eddy Herrera & Magic Juan: Ultima Vez, great song). What I believe is shameful, all these old merengueros aren't keeping the pure craft alive. With all the money they have they should build mini music schools & help the inspiring kids (especially Sergio Vargas the dude was poor!!). In the perfect world they would contribute back to the society in a small way, I only say that because some of these merengueros have been doing this for 20-30-40 years! & they don't seem to stop (Milly, Johnny,etc.) They have made alot of money. Anyway I think merengue could be great again if it gets better marketed, taught, produced, less noise & more feeling, social awareness... back to the basics. I hate reggaeton so I really want to see merengue back on top!

Another of my favorite bands & one of the most original is Los Ilegales, they mix cumpia and other forms, great.

Peace Capo

PS I don't live in DR...therefore if some the musicians mentioned above do help my apologies...I'm 19 and don't know much about DR...just the ladies ;) .
 

daddy1

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Feb 27, 2004
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Merengue is Dominican music, our music...! it doesn't need promo.

it just needs the support of Dominican's, both in the island and in the states, how long long has merengue been in existance, it's on the map already! Brazilizians love samba, it never goes out of style..because they support there music because it's there music!! and why do these new artist need to go to an art school..when music is about expression and creativity, the fact that some are saying that there are artist that have lowered the standards of merengue is totally false!, I've seen bands like Oro Solido, Malafe, Tulile, and all the mambo bands, fill up nightclubs to copacity leaving people outside with there money in there hand! all of these men have made bocu money, there is got to be a reason for that...Hymmm..it's because they sell records to lively up a festival or nightclub, I cannot see myself dancing to Sergio or Juan Luis all FREAKING night,


we needed those creative artist to keep the music going full circle, all of those artist at one point were musicians, getting paid peanuts making others rich! and then when they introduced there wild style of merengue it blew up big time, so then the old school merengueros weren't attracting new listeners they verbally bashed the new artist saying there merengue was garbage, only because they weren't the only show in town...what Dominican's don't understand or want to understand is it does not matter what voice you have, or style you bring it fills nightclubs, the artist that we have mentioned here like Oro Solido, or Malafe, Tulile, etc, did not record there tunes because it was quality or not, they did it to bring another source of entertainment to the table...but the close minded old school dominican's were set on shutting them down.

I meam some people think that merengue should only be played with romantic lyrics, or with a story line...No Sir..who in this world can put a label on art, art comes in all different forms, some like to see in image on a painting, others just splatter all over a canvas, but despite the differences its still considered art in all of it's form...there is no reason to ruin these artist careers because some closed minded few can't relate!! but yet we have let Mexican's, and Puerto Rican's, Emilio Estefan, and old school farts!..
in D.R. change and alter the business today! Merengue is our music in every living form,... I love me some Sergio when I feel romantic, and some Oro Solido when I'm feeling wild and crazy, my old school parent's don't feel that way but that is there problem! El Mangue! just does not fly in a club anymore!
 

Marianopolita

Former Spanish forum Mod 2010-2021
Dec 26, 2003
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Daddy1 in response to your post #12

Your second post explains your position much better than your first however having read the second one several times I still believe that merengue's slow demise is a combination of factors. I think we are semantically speaking about the same concept to a certain extent. You are so adamant when you say merengueros don't need to be promoted but they need support. It is one in the same. Support by the fans and support by a reputable record label is called 'promotion'. They go hand in hand. You can't have one without the other. If the music is produced/ recorded and the fans don't support it which is what is happening today the result is the current demise of merengue.

I agree with you 100% regarding preferences and styles ie. old school as opposed to merengue mambo. I think that variety s/b appreciated although I myself have my limits. For example Oro S?lido's music has always been labelled as "New York Style Merengue" and I remember even after their third album many Dominicans on the island had never even heard of the band. Again a reflection of support and promotion. However, Oro S?lido's style is no longer innovative in my opinion. They began to lose popularity after their album "El Presidente del merengue" which is the only one I fully enjoy by this band. I don't like Mala Fe and Tulile. Merengue mambo overall needs some creativity and innovation too if merengue is going make a come back.


LDG
 
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I say the worst thing that can happen to Merengue is that it will not be world known. As long as it is on the island of origin it will never die, because it is theirs. We are talking as if Merengue will cease to exist. That is not going to happen. How often do you hear Hawiian music...."ONLY WHEN YOUR IN HAWAII". Has it died...No.

Anything beyond DR for Merengue, in my opinion, is a perk. Merengue is not just a form of music, but it is a culture. It is not music like Boy Bands in the States that die off, never to be heard again because its only intention and the reason for its creation was to make money, nothing else. It never helped define the American culture. If anything, it defined GREED. But in terms of Merengue, like Salsa, and Raggae, it is woven into the culture of the people, it is not a byproduct and thats why they stand the test of time with little change. True the styles may change over time, but the rhythms and beats that Merengue is based upon will never change because it is the basis of what Merengue is.
 

Stodgord

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Nov 19, 2004
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Bring Merengue back to the 80's

Man,

Merengue from the 80's are the best. Everytime I hear one I get nostalgic. That decade was the like the reinassance, new bands, young artists being trained by the greatest, like Rasputin, Jossy esteban, Dionis Fernandez, Wilfrido Vargas etc. Who can forget "El Safiro" , "Aramis Camilo", "Musiquito" they were good.
 

Marianopolita

Former Spanish forum Mod 2010-2021
Dec 26, 2003
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Jossie Esteban & Co.

I am glad to know that I am not only that likes Jossie Esteban. I love his sound. His merengue rhythm is unique and always melodic. I also like Cocoband's music from the late eighties and early nineties. My favorite album is El Arrollador. It has nice mix of merengue and salsa. It's just a very impressive album. Other Cocoband classics: 'Ya viene el lunes', 'El Toro en la capital', 'La Flaca' and the list goes on.


LDG.
 
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Apr 26, 2002
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Hillbilly said:
At the dinner table this noontime, one of our friends was talking about how wonderful the Friday Nites at LA NUIT discoteque at the Hotel Matum are!! It seems that "F?lix Del Rosario y Los Magos del Ritmo" play there every Friday for an audience that is "over the hill" - at least for the younger set.
So, if you would like to enjoy some of the older merengues, salsas and sons, stop on by La Nuit one of these Fridays....Might even see this HB there..
I've been looking for this. See you there, HB!
 

Marianopolita

Former Spanish forum Mod 2010-2021
Dec 26, 2003
4,821
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In today's Diario Libre.....

there's a great article about To?o Rosario and the state of merengue in general. The article echoes much of what has been said here but most of all that merengue has lost ground to bachata and reggaeton. The article touches on key issues such as promotion, the record label and fan support.

According to To?o Rosario his music is not threatened:

'En entrevista exclusiva con Diario Libre, el popular merenguero descart? que su m?sica en particular est? amenazada por la bachata y el reggaet?n, dos g?neros que en algunos pa?ses actualmente gozan de una aceptaci?n por encima del merengue'.

Here is the link:

http://diariolibre.com/app/article.aspx?id=36950


LDG.
 
Lesley D said:
According to To?o Rosario his music is not threatened:

'En entrevista exclusiva con Diario Libre, el popular merenguero descart? que su m?sica en particular est? amenazada por la bachata y el reggaet?n, dos g?neros que en algunos pa?ses actualmente gozan de una aceptaci?n por encima del merengue'.

Because the key is, you alway have home to fall back on. Even if Europe and the US say the hell with Merengue, he has home.

"To?o Rosario, just click your heels 3 times and so, there is no place like home...there is no place like home..."
 

Janni

New member
Mar 19, 2005
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Speaking of Tono Rosario....Planner or any other DR1er's....have you heard anything about this Friday night?? Is he performing in Playa Dorado (Roadway)????

Solamente dos mas suenos!!!! :) I really want to hear Tono's musica live!!!