The author of the article aims at addressing the dilemma of labeling music as either traditional, neo-traditional or locally rooted pop music. For the traditional music for example even though it is labelled as timeless transforms by different situations in the World may they be economic or social. This poses a labelling dilemma because a song that may be termed as traditional may be played up to date and fans will still enjoy it. Therefore it becomes contradicting to classify the music in the three major classifications correctly.
Merengue tipico can be traced back in Cibao in Santiago city which is in the rural area of northern valley region. This city is popular in music production, and it is the largest in Cibao and is ranked second in the entire country. This music is very significant and is played in different places such as restaurants and bars. This music is listened to and played by the professionals who make it significant and unique. The fact that this music is played in this specific region has impacted immigrants in the New York because those who aspire to be musicians have to relocate to Santiago; otherwise, they cannot be recognized in the world of tipico music. The music has also become popular in New York all because of immigrants from Cibao. The class of this music is considered as uneducated consisting of the migrants, rural residents as well as the rural-to-urban migrants.
The author argues that Merengue tipico is significant both on its music expression as well as in the way it is produced. This is because it has the cultural aspect and also transforms to suit the taste of the migrant Dominicans as well as their lifestyle. The author characterizes the "nuts and bolts" of this music genre different from those of the Orquesta merengue. One of the characteristics of Merengue tipico is that the songs are traditional including those from the 19th century. The lyrics are also local, and rhythms are improvised. Additionally, the listeners identify with the music, and the production is unique.
Standard instruments used in the production of the music include tres, guitar, or cuatro. Later, the music producers started using guitar, marimba, as well as diatonic button accordion. The international migration had an impact on Merengue tipico music as it led to Dominican transnationalism. The migrants who resided in New York made Merengue tipico their favorite music thereby making it part of "transnational circuit." The migration is linked to class structure because the majority of those who migrated to the cities such as New York are the unrefined, uneducated and those regarded as low-class.
The return migrants together with the low-class members of Santiago are associated with Merengue tipico music. In New, York Dominicans have settled in Jackson Height-Corona also referred to as Queens Manhattan's Washington Heights as well as Lower East Side of New York. The Dominican migrants are divided by region with the rural immigrants holding on to the Cibao identity even when in New York. It is for this reason that Corona and Queens are referred to as Sabana Iglesia which is a Cibao village.
The author concludes that further studies should be carried out on transnational music. The studies should be directed towards the need to understand the variations brought up by factors such as locational difference and length of residence. Merengue tipico functionality varies with contexts as in Santiago; it is associated with a particular class. On the contrary, the music creates a diaspora identity to New York migrants.
Hutchinson, S. (2006). Merengue tipico in Santiago and New York: Transnational regionalism in neo-traditional Dominican music. Ethnomusicology, 50(1), 37-72.
Hutchinson, S. (2015). Merengue on the Move. Made in Latin America: Studies in Popular Music, 113.
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