Dancing to Merengue
songs is not for the physically challenged and a merengue dance party should come equipped with towels for the guests that can't resist dancing every number. I have to admit that this great playlist has been tamped down a bit making it music that even people over 30 can dance to!
Dominican Los Toros Band used to boast Hector Acosta as the lead on their vocals until Acosta decided to go solo; lately they've been associated more with bachata
than merengue although their music has always been a kaleidescope of Dominican music
performed with great vocals.
Merengue, like most genres, is changing with the addition of electronic elements, sped-up tempos and fusion with other forms. It's nice to take a break a listen to merengue in an older style, performed here by Jose Cobles and his band. Cobles took the name Puerto Plata from the Dominican town in which he was born.
From Mujer De Cabaret
Joe Veras is another Dominican artist who fluctuates between bachata and merengue. This song from an all-merengue album starts with bachata instrumentation and then adds horns to great effect while still keeping its distinctive Dominican flavor.
From Merengue de Joe Veras
Puerto Rico's Grupo Mania has been one of the most popular merengue groups in the world even after their lead singer, Elvis Crespo, went on to solo career in 1997. Grupo Mania has had a lot of hits, but I picked a slower tempo merengue for the less manic crowd.
From Alto Honor
Speaking of Elvis Crespo, the Puerto Rican merengue king is still a touch manic even without the iconic Grupo Mania at his back. Suavemente
was one of his most popular albums and the single "Suavemente" was a fan favorite, so he performed it in several styles. This one is a merengue version.
From Suavemente..Los Exitos
Puerto Rican Olga Tanon has so many hit merengues under her belt that it was tough to pick just one track. I liked this one; the title could be translated to 'bad boy' and who doesn't like a bad boy?
From Mujer de Fuego
Putting the popular (and now defunct) Texas band Kumbia Kings
on the list was a departure from the music of the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, but I couldn't resist. "Sshh!" is one of the King's biggest hits, but the fact that the band did a merengue version of the tune just shows how popular the Dominican genre is all over the world.
From All Mixed Up
Here's a tune from another Puerto Rican group that specializes in merengue.
From Merengue Power
Dominican Fulanito is a real kick. His music is faster than blazes, his fusions original and often unexpected. This track is a change of pace with an electro-synth and urban flare.
I like the big band merengue groups from the Dominican Republic, and Los Hermanos Rosario is one of the best and most popular.