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Spanish language music: Merengue


Meringue is a lively, upbeat kind of music and dance that originated in the Dominican Republic and became kind of a symbol of the country. At first the music of rural peasants, in the mid-1930s dictator Rafael Trujillo declared meringue the official national style and its popularity spread rapidly with rural migration to the cities. The drum beat and the güira -- a metal percussion instrument played with a stiff brush -- define its distinctive sound, though it has been adapted to other instruments. Meringue has become popular outside the Dominican Republic, particularly in Puerto Rico, Miami, and New York.


Elvis Crespo (New York, USA / Puerto Rico)
CD Suavemente [1998] • LISTENBUY CD • REVIEW: Dance pop-merengue star Elvis Crespo shot to the top of the charts in Billboard with his feverish and horn-fueled mix of nonstop merengue, as best exemplified by the anthem "Suavemente." Even if you don't know Spanish, the tribalistic grooves connect solidly enough that suddenly even merengue dance steps seem instinctive. The tune has been such a smash that label reps released a "Spanglish" version that was included in the movie musical Dance with Me. Also instantly hypnotic is "Tu Sonrisa," another blitzkrieg-paced merengazo propelled by bewitching horns and relentless percussion. These two tunes alone are worth the cost of the CD. Elsewhere, there are more merengues and the occasional romantic bachata--especially noteworthy are "Llorando" and the flamenco guitar-fueled "Te Vas." Another bachata, "Nuestra Cancion," is classic bachata, reminiscent of the great singer-songwriter Juan Luis Guerra. -- Review by Ramiro Burr

CD Greatest Hits [2002] • LISTENBUY CD |CD Wow Flash [2000] • LISTENBUY CD
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Gisselle (New York, USA / Puerto Rico)
CD En alma, cuerpo y corazón [2002] • LISTENBUY CD | CD Atada [1998] • LISTENBUY CD | CD Lo mejor de Gisselle [1999] • LISTEN BUY CD
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Juan Luis Guerra (Dominican Republic)
CD Colección romántica [2000] • LISTENBUY CD • REVIEW: Juan Luis Guerra takes another look at his long, successful career on Colección Romántica, a lavish, two-disc affair that finds the Dominican Republic native revisiting and remixing some of his most successful songs. The collection's 20 tracks could have arguably fit on only one CD, especially considering that Guerra has already released two greatest-hits albums in 1994 and 1996. Still, this is a compulsively listenable affair, marked by Guerra's trademark dabbling in jazz harmonies, African music, and pop flavors. The collection's first five tracks--"Tú," "Razones," "Ay Mujer," "Quisiera," and "Amor de Conuco"--have been transformed from their original salsa and merengue versions into polished ballads. The trick works, and it sets the exotic, candlelit mood that figures throughout the album. Other hits such as "Burbujas de Amor" and "Bachata Rosa" have never sounded better, thanks to studio remastering. Even if Guerra's previous hits albums are already in your library, Colección Romántica deserves a prime spot on the shelf. -- Review by Joey Guerra

CD Ni es lo mismo ni es igual [1998] • LISTENBUY CD |CD Bachata rosa / 4.40 [1990] • LISTENBUY CD
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Ilegales (Dominican Republic)
CD Ilegales [1995] • LISTENBUY CD | CD Hits [2002] • LISTENBUY CD | CD En directo [1993] • LISTENBUY CD
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Manny Manuel (Puerto Rico)
CD Serenata [2003] • LISTENBUY CD | CD Lleno de vida [1999] • LISTENBUY CD | CD The Best ... [2002] • LISTENBUY CD | Live CD En vivo [2000] • LISTEN BUY CD
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Ednita Nazario (Puerto Rico)
CD Por tí [2003] • LISTENBUY CD | Live CD Acustico [2002] • LISTENBUY CD | CD Sin limite [2001] • LISTENBUY CD | CD Espíritu libre [1996] • LISTENBUY CD | CD Pasiones [1994] • LISTENBUY CD | CD 30 exitos insuperables [2003] • LISTENBUY CD
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Zafra Negra
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Raulin Rodriguez (Dominican Republic)
CD Soledad [1997] • LISTENBUY CD | CD Una mujer como tú [1993] • LISTENBUY CD | CD El amor da vida [1994] • LISTENBUY CD | CD Corazón, corazón [1998] • LISTEN BUY CD
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Olga Tañón (Puerto Rico)
CD Olga Viva, Viva Olga [1999] • LISTENBUY CD • REVIEW: Merengue firebrand Olga Tañón delivers her best material in a red-hot setting at the House of Blues in Orlando, Florida. The Puerto Rican native spread her wings and dove into pop with her 1996 album Nuevos Senderos, and she still has that eagerness to mix it up. Among the choice cuts here are "Mi Eterno Amor Secreto," which mixes bluesy soul with romantic salsa, and "El Frio de Tu Adiós," for its melodic intensity and mature lyrics of accepting the end. Tañón shows off her versatility, swinging from the mid-tempo ballads "Presencié tu Amor," to the full-blown dance-pop workout of the bonus track "Viva la Música," which recalls the heavy percussion of Marc Anthony's "I Need to Know." --Review by Ramiro Burr

CD Una nueva mujer [2005] • LISTENBUY CD | CD Sobrevivir [2002] • LISTENBUY CD | CD A puro fuego [2003] • LISTENBUY CD | CD Llevame contigo [1997] • LISTENBUY CD | CD Siente el amor [1995] • LISTENBUY CD
Browse or buy Olga Tañon CDs at amazon 

Johnny Ventura (Dominican Republic)
Browse or buy Johnny Ventura CDs at amazon 


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