Monday, June 18, 2007

Thanks for the 404s

I've fixed the links the best I could for your continued enjoyment, faithful readers. But now you may have to wait a bit for the next installment. I leave tomorrow for a month in Europe where I will be having more adventures, many of them involving various types of accordions. I'll still post pictures and stories when I have the chance, though.

In the meantime, those of you who are in New York may wish to visit this year's installment of the Main Squeeze Accordion Festival, July 7 2-9 PM Riverside Park, Pier 1 at 70th St. I'm told that our friend Ernestidio Rodriguez has been invited back to play again this year (unfortunately I won't be able to join him this time) - though I don't know if this is going forward as he doesn't appear on the current program! If any of you go, let me know.

Have fun and stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Birthday links

Hey guys, it’s my birthday today!
My gift to you are some links for listening to típico.

La Super Regional

Radio Típico

Fulanito web site – first group to combine perico ripiao & hip hop

Many groups have MySpace pages where you can hear some of their music. Here are a few.
Rafaelito Roman
Raul Roman
El Ciego de Nagua
Cristian Guira
El Prodigio
Nicol Peña
Geovanny Polanco

There are many more, but it’s pretty easy to find them under the “friends” section of these guys.

Merengue & Bachata – República Dominicana(site with sound clips of major musicians in these genres)

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Batey Libertad church

Hi folks-

so if you know me you know I'm not much of a churchgoer, but today I'm posting on behalf of a church. My friend Yanlico has asked for help for some badly needed repairs and upgrades to the church at Batey Libertad near Santiago. If you've been reading my blog for a while you know that the bateyes are settlements for agricultural workers in the Dominican Republic, mostly of Haitian descent, and they are the poorest parts of the country. Batey Libertad has no water supply and very few services of any kind, so the church serves to provide comfort, a community center and suchlike to many on the batey.

If any of you are involved in a church or charity group and would like to help out the Iglesia Cristiana Reformada of Batey Libertad, either through donations or a sort of adopt-a-church set up, please contact me. You would find yourselves some lifelong friends in the DR!

Their immediate needs are:
2 ceiling fans and 4 wall-mounted fans (it's realllllly hot there!)
50 plastic chairs
1 desk/table
2 microphones
contruction of a cement patio in front of church

Here are some pictures Yanlico sent of the church, churchgoers, services and classes.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

fixed it!

Who are you, Cerveza in Tucson? Thanks for spotting the broken link. It is now fixed and you can enjoy the genius that is El Prodigio.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Tipico Videos

I realize I need to have more sound and video available to people, especially since many of you have probably not had the opportunity to hear live merengue tipico. I put some examples up last summer but it was very time consuming, so instead, I thought of posting some annotated links this time around. When I first went up with my tipico website,, in 2001, there was virtually nothing else available on the web about the music. Well, things have changed a lot since then. Now many tipico groups have websites, and with the advent of MySpace and YouTube the tipico world has gotten ever more wired. So here's the first part in a series of links that will help you get to know tipico virtually. I'm starting with video and then I'll move on to sound and other websites.

A great performance by Arsenio de la Rosa, circa 1980 I’d guess from the hairstyles.
It’s his own composition about Columbus coming to the Americas, complete with paseo.

And his brother King de la Rosa, same period, playing “La Agarradera.” He’s playing a three-row accordion just to be different. There’s Chinito on güira and Jose el Calvo on sax with a really nice solo. And boy, people were really enthused about video effects back then.

Here’s King today, playing sans sax so you can really hear the accordion:

Another classic: El Ciego de Nagua playing “El Cuento Comparon” – a song I myself played on my TV debut – accompanied by singer Vinicio Lopez and Jose el Calvo on sax.

Rafaelito Roman (my teacher) playing with his two sons, Raul and Nixon

Raul Roman y La Nueva Selección Tipica. This is Raul’s own group. Obviously the accordion is awesome. The saxophonist, Quiquito, is also really good. (He joined us on the recording we just did for Smithsonian Folkways with La India Canela, as did the group's conguero, Veneno.)

Maria Diaz back in the day. Watch out for those crazy video effects.

Fefita la Grande – the Celia Cruz of the Dominican Republic! She has a very unique style to say the least.

Too bad this clip’s so short – here you can really see why El Prodigio is one of the best and most respected accordionists today. Also he’s with his old group from a few years back, all of whom are with Kerubanda today, including Cristian güira and Tormenta Tambora.

Here’s el Prodigio with his new group playing the Tatico classic, “Cualquiera llora” (aka Tatico llorando)

Geovanny Polanco’s “Historia de un gran amor” is a pretty song and a good example of modern style típico.

Geniswing is a new group composed entirely of New York-born Dominican kids. The accordionist, Geno, is 21 and the oldest in the group – their tamborero is like 15?! Amazing. Just a couple of months ago they recorded and released their first single in the DR. In April it was playing a lot on the radio. Here they play Las 7 Pasadas in a party in someone’s house. This is one of the only instrumental merengues.
And here one with singing:

And here’s merengue típico in its original form – a trio, played in the campo. The little boy dancing is the funniest.

Another one, in Cotui, this time with marimba – although you can’t really hear it.

And now some percussion!
Ray “Chinito” Diaz was one of the early innovators on percusión in New York. He played with King de la Rosa back in the late 70s-early 80s and developed very syncopated güira rhythms based on his experience scratching records in early hip-hop. Later he played with great NY orquestas like Milly, Jocelyn, y los Vecinos and became a producer, producing Lidia de la Rosa’s records among others. Here he takes a tambora solo.

La Kerubanda is one of the hottest groups in the DR now. The accordionist isn’t anything to write home about, but the band is great, particularly the brothers on güira and tambora (Cristian and La Tormenta). Here they play “Un ser que me persigue” (aka “El hombre mas guapo), whose lyrics are in the form of a décima and were originally a son.

La Tormenta percusión solo (sound not very good, but amazing to watch)

Conga solo from Juanchu – same band.

This is kina of nice, a conguero demonstrates basic rhythms used to play merengue tipico.