This episode is named after the song Yo Soy El Merengue in honor of the late Johnny Ventura who died July 2021. But, who is the merengue? What is it? How is it danced? What is the Black contribution to this contagious rhythm, staple of house parties not only in its birthplace the Dominican Republic, but also in other Latin American countries such as Puerto Rico and Colombia.
In this episode we talk about the origins and history of merengue, its role as the national rhythm of the Dominican Republic under dictator Rafael Trujillo, and its diffusion all over the Latin American and Latino markets in the U.S. including its mixtures with Hip Hop. Of course, since we're dancers, we also explore how the Black roots of merengue informed how the rhythm is danced.
Our guests are Dominican music and dance educator, composer, arranger and producer Edwin Manuel Ferreras Madrigal, Dominican music professor, arranger, recording engineer, composer and band leader Socrates Garcia, and doctoral student in ethnomusicology, teacher and musician John Bimbiras.
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