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.


Cervesa en Tucson said...

Cool blog! Your travel tales cause me to reminisce about my time in Nicaragua and Guatemala. If you still are offering a beer for naming your accordion, then I’d like to tender these suggestions:
Mariposa or Mari for short if you prefer a DR historical allusion, – it seems to fit what I’ve read so far. (I’m still working on your older entries.)
If Mariposa is too heavily laden with connotation, how about La Vocita since she’s your other voice? You could always use either Voz or Voci for an apodo.

BTW, instead of a video, the listed link to the short video of El Prodigio with his old group gets this result: “The url contained a malformed video id.”

Anonymous said...

what key is commonly used on the accordion in playing tipico I want to start playing tipico but do not know what key of accordion to buy.

shipherd said...

Hello Sydney, fun to read your blog. I met you briefly at the Southwest Center digital storytelling workshop that I gave and then remembered that I had seen your profile in the Tucson Weekly, and then checked out your blog and enjoyed the video links and your photos from carnival in DR. Just wanted to say I love what you're doing and if I you want any digi storytelling advice I'd be happy to help because your work seems ideal for it. Cheers, Shipherd

SpunkyBass said...

Hey Sidney! Just wanted to know where can I hear your music? I play in a band but I play the bass. If you want to see us play you can go to this link:

We have been playing for about 4 months. What do you think of us?

SpunkyBass said...

You can email me and let me know. My email is Thanks! :)