Colombia: a second home for merengue performers

Santo Domingo. DR

When, in the middle of the last century, the businessman Bienvenido Rodríguez began to promote the first Cuco Valoy meringues in Colombia, he began to write a love story between this country and the Dominican Republic.

Before, the rhythm already let its flavor and sound be felt, thanks to the Dominican musician Billo Frómeta, who from Venezuela began to market the local rhythm among Colombians.

This is how groups such as El Combo Show by Johnny Ventura, Wilfrido Vargas y los Beduinos, Milly Joselyn and the neighbors undertook the task of making “the partners” fall in love with merengue, giving way to artists such as Sergio Vargas, Eddy Herrera, Kinito Méndez, Miriam Cruz, the Rosario brothers, Jossie Esteban and Bonny Cepeda, among others, became true idols of merengue, thus being one of the most listened to and danced foreign rhythms in the South American country.

The hit of merengue in Colombia was so significant that the Rikarena group, owned by Kinito Méndez, was residing in this great nation for more than three years, due to the amount of work that the group demanded.

Recently with the arrival of the “tsunami” of urban music, although merengue and other rhythms in the world have experienced a decrease in its diffusion, in Colombia merengue has managed to maintain its position in a contemporary audience and a large part of the youth. .

+ Big market

Colombia has become the most important market for our legendary merengueros who travel more than ten times during the year and have between 35 and 40 performances a year.

Why do Colombians like meringue so much? For Kinito Méndez it has to do with the lyrics that are exposed in the rhythm of güira and tambora. “They are love songs, seasoned with a tremendous flavor, Colombians like to dance a lot, but they also enjoy the bitter, love lyrics… and that combination has been perfect for them to love our merengue,” he says.

Eddy Herrera has been singing in Colombia since 1995. This week he concluded one of the many tours he presents and from his experience he explains: “All of Latin America loves merengue but in the case of Colombia, fortunately they love it for the flavor, the (somewhat romantic) melodies, the rhythm, especially for the so many years that it has been supported and acclaimed. It’s incredible that in my case, I keep going all the time and the average number of concerts there are practically the same”.

musical similarity

The theme “Rompe waist” by Los Rosario is practically an anthem in Colombia, René Solís, manager of the group explains that merengue in its rhythmic composition has much in common with vallenato and cumbia.

“There are a lot of merengue hits like El Africano, El desdichado, which have very similar musical tempos to cumbia and vallenato.”

Definitely, this South American country has become one of the main places that sustains the Dominican rhythm.

“Colombia is definitely the country between Central and South America that has supported merengue the most in the last 40 years, this being one of the most important Top Genres, supported, applauded and pampered. Some of us visit Colombia to offer our concerts up to twice a month; Colombia loves merengue”, assures the interpreter of “Pégame tu vice”.