The re-Blogging of the entry “Introduction to Merengue” by fellow blogger SantaJulia has made me really nostalgic. I am waxing poetic about older Merengue, which was very rich musically and inclusive of talented women: Back in the 70’s 80’s and early 90’s there were many Merengueras who were very well known and respected for their quality, their musicality and their high caliber as performers.
Merengueras had the admiration of men and women. I personally wanted to grow up to be a hybrid: A singer like Miriam Cruz and an awesome front band dancer like Francis Rosario. As a little girl I could identify myself with those performers and feel positive of wanting to be like them. They were energetic, sensual and playful on the stage, most important, they exuded a confidence that said “I am a real woman, I have my talents.”
Ladies like Francis Rosario, dancer and showWoman for Los Hermanos Rosario, Milly and Joselyn from Milly, Joselyn & Ls vecinos, Miriam Cruz and Las Chicas del Can, Belkis Concepcion, Indira Rubiera and Mayra Bello (Los Toros band), Adalgisa Pantaleon, Mariela Mercado and Maridalia Hernandez from Cuatro Cuarenta (Four Fourty). Those women, were the face of culture of Dominican Merengue who managed to be sassy, beautiful, talented and mantain the good taste while given their 100% as performers. Some bands like Las Chicas del can, were all women bands and they actually played their instruments. Home girls were tough, no voice overs nor tracks, no gimmicks, no bs, no joke… all real deal.
Then, along the way something happened and Merengueras in the Dominican Republic stopped being respected for their musical talents and they started being sold as meat. This new trend started during the late 80’s and early 90’s. New groups that featured merengueras turned into a circus, a show on which singers, musicians and performers just showed flesh… no talent. All for sake of commerce. It was disrespectful to the important legacy of the women mention on the previous paragraph. Even seeing the new crop was saddening.
The feminine face of Merengueras was rescued by ladies like Olga Tañon, Giselle and las veteranas like Milly Quezada, Miriam Cruz and la vieja Fefa. The last three have risen and fall, but also remained active in Merengue panorama, always preserving the good taste.
Hope you had enjoyed this blog.