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Slinging tuneage like some fried or otherwise soused short-order cook

24 October 2013

Dominican Republic

For the Dominican Republic I am presenting music that is polar opposites. We will be able to hear the traditional music of Quisqueya or Española from its earliest incarnation to 21st Century modern, all from one island & much of it in one style. From its origins as the dance of slaves working in the sugar beet fields, connected to one another by a chain strapped to their ankles that made them walk in such a manner as to drag one leg to becoming made the official music & dance of the Dominican Republic as dictated by El Jefe himself Rafael Trujillo, meringue has helped shaped the life of all Dominicans. Here are examples of its earliest form as social dancing to the latest hip-hop stylings of Merengue Urbano.

Music from the Dominican Republic is a fantastic collection from Smithsonian Folkways Records. It spans four discs & provides a great listen to the musical history of the DR. It was recorded by Verna Gillis with Ramon Daniel Perez Martinez. The first three were recorded in 1976, the last one in 1978.

Record 1 - The Island of Quisqueya.

"Lying midway between Puerto Rico & Cuba in the West Indies is the Dominican Republic, a country which occupies the eastern two-thirds of an island it shares with the country Haiti. The aboriginal name of the island was Quisqueya, which means ‘mother of the earth’. When Columbus discovered the island in 1492 he renamed it ‘Española’. In Santo Domingo, founded in 1496, one still sees the remains of the first church built in America. Here is the house where Cortés kept the court records before he had even heard of Mexico. From here Ponce de León set out in search of the Fountain of Youth..."

Ethnic Folkways Records FE 4281, 1976.
all decryption codes in comments

Side 1 –
A Novena – drummers & singers from Samana
O Reina – Heraldo Enriques, Pablo Jiron, & Saturnino Enriques
Instrumental, with vocals – Isabel, Santos, Colon, & Damito Jimenes
A Novena – locals recorded at the home of Sr. Amable

Side 2 –
“Apagame la Vela” – Nicole Guitierres, Porfirio Rosario, & Santo Peña
“Merengues” – Seseco Martinez, Bicolo Avila, & Goyo Caminero
“Cuando Yo Vine del” – Tomás de Leon, Maria Isabel Trinidad, & Licinio Modesto
“Julio Ven” – Erasmo, Julio, & Virgilio Errera
“Las Mujeres Son el Consuelo de los Hombres” – same as “Apagame la Vela”
“Merengues” – same as “Merengues” above

Record 2 - The Island of Española.

Ethnic Folkways Records FE 4282, 1976.

Side 1 –
Los Chuines – Ernesto Marine, Armando Perez, & Ventura & Santiago Guerrero
Sarandunga – Amanica Perez, Carlos Enriques, Manuel Ventura, & Raphael & Carlos Peguero

Side 2 -
Morena Linda
Caminan las Nubes
Istrumental – Tomás Aguino de Leon & Maria Isabel Trinidad
Guay, Guay, Guay
El Tobaco
Salves – Elvira Diaz, Pablo Jiron, Mildred Alberto, & Bederminio & Saturninio Enriques

Record 3 - Cradle of the New World.

Cradle of the New World continues in the vein of prior volumes in the series, offering songs that range from religious salves in praise of the Virgin Mary to dances such as the cumbia, the national dance of Colombia. Palos drums, which can reach up to 5 ft. in height, are featured prominently in both secular & religious songs. They provide percussion for accordion & vocal melodies. Liner notes include a brief overview of the history of the Dominican Republic, track notes with lyrics in English & Spanish, also pictures of the featured musicians.
Ethnic Folkways Records FE 4283, 1976.

Side 1 –
Mummies – Theophilus Chiverton, Gerald George, Alfredo  Paris, Manuel Arab, Jesus Manuel Román, & Agripino Hernandez
Los Congos:
“Espirito Santo” / “Camino Reale” medley
“Ensilla Mi Caballo”
“Lambe los Deos Manteca”
“Le Vamos A Dar la Gracias” - Bienvenida, Victoriano, Vincente, & Donatilia Vargas & Albertino Graciano

Side 2 -
Baile, Cum, Cum, Baile (a Bambula) – Nino, Benjamin Perez, & Dona & Jorge Bertilia
Ave Maria, Bena de Gracia (a Salves) – Nino, Benjamin Perez, & Dona Bertilia
Yo Traigo un Lirio – Nino, Seseco Martinez, & Jorge Bertilia
Viejo Luis (a Bambula) – Dona & Jorge Bertilia & Benjamin Perez
Three Children’s Songs
Navidad sin Mi Madre (a Cumbia) – Nicole Guitierres, Porfirio Rosario, & Santo Peña
Record 4 - Songs of the North.

Bordering the Atlantic Ocean, the northern areas of the Dominican Republic are home to the Cordillera Septentrional mountains & the farmlands in the Cibao valley. Songs such as "Canto de Hacha" and "Tumbando el gri-gri" are intended to accompany woodcutting. They feature overlapping a-capella solo & chorus singing. Also included are dances such as "Bolero," which features maracas & Spanish guitar. Liner notes include track notes with lyrics in Spanish & English.

Ethnic Folkways Records FE 4284, 1978.

Side 1 –
Canto de Hacha – Fransisco Sanchez
Canto de Hacha - Santo de la Cruz
Canto de Hacha – Andre Rodriguez Pena
Báquini (death song)
Rosario (song of supplication)
Rosario (death song)
Rosario – Juan Pablo Paolin, Santo de la Cruz, Feliz Gomez, Juan Maria Pena, Petrolina Clase, & Tomas, Aquilino, Llario, & Mercedes Sanchez
Chuin (social song) – solo & chorus

Side 2 –
Bolero - Tomás Aguino de Leon & Maria Isabel Trinidad
Improvised Lyrics – Miguel A. Burdie, Carlos Antonia Pena, & Amado Salo with chorus
Salve - Juan Pablo Paolin, Santo de la Cruz, Feliz Gomez, Juan Maria Pena, Petrolina Clase, & Tomas, Aquilino, Llario, & Mercedes Sanchez
Comic Song – Francisco Burdie, Juan Jorge Cruz, & Fausta & Augustin Taveras
Chuin (love song) – Tomas Sanchez & Juan Maria Pena with chorus
Bolero “Obsesion” - Francisco Burdie, Juan Jorge Cruz, & Fausta & Augustin Taveras


Omega (Antonio Peter De La Rosa) was born on the town of Bonao, Dominican Republic. He is the son of Ercilia de La Rosa & Sergio Peter. He grew up in Pantoja, one of the neighborhoods of central Santo Domingo, the capital of the country. It was there that he was introduced to the thrill of meringue music.

Omega y su Mambo Violento is a modern merengue group who are most generally classified as a ‘mambo’ band because of their name. They are based in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Since 2007 the group which is led by singer Omega has enjoyed increased popularity in the Dominican Republic & in the Dominican-American communities in the United States. They have also enjoyed an increased popularity in Spain. Lately that popularity has spread to the rest of Latin American.

Omega (or Omega el Fuerte, as he is also known) has helped create & popularize a new form of merengue, called Merengue Urbano. It is a blend of merengue with hip hop, rap, &  R&B. This new genre has been adopted by many artist from diverse backgrounds such as Cuban-American Pitbull & Colombian-born Shakira. Omega y Su Mambo Violento has become one of the leaders in the urban merengue scene eclipsing earlier acts like Julian y Oro Duro, El Jeffrey, Sr. Jucafri, & other groups of the genre.

Tracklist –

Son Tan Solo Dos
Me Engañaste
La Goma & Gorrito
El Mambo Del Drink
Dólares y Cacho
La Macaste
El Rabo Del Lechón
Noche De Travesuras
Son Tan Solo, Mamboteo, El Mambo Del Drink (Remix)
Alante Alante
Por Teléfono

Omega has recently had several run-ins with the law in the DR. Early this year he did prison time for assualt but was later released & his accuser was charged with perjury. Perhaps his criminal mischief had something to do with Akon signing Omega to his record label Konvict Musik (appropriately named???).

Tracklist -

Con Biberones No
Porque Me Tratas Asi
Dollares Pa Ti
Un Dia De Suerte
Escudo De Dios


1 comment:

  1. Music of the Dominican Republic, Vol. 1
    Vol. 2
    Vol. 3
    Omega y Su Mambo Violento
    Omega el Fuerte