The so-called “inland music” is currently in vogue, and new performers are young and creative. One such group, D’Ahora, was formed six years ago in New York.
A fresh wave of talent is invigorating the typical music scene, reaching an unprecedented level of popularity among audiences who either d it as an inherited tradition or have been captivated by this inland music trend, especially among the younger generation.
It’s in this new century that the “NYC Typical” movement was born in New York City. It’s comprised of young Dominicans or those of Dominican descent who have either moved to the big city or were born in the United States, with a deep appreciation for this infectious rhythm passed down by their Dominican roots.
This new generation has been instrumental in forming recent typical merengue bands. They bring a fresh style to their image, an excellent musical proposal, and, most importantly, demonstrate exceptional accordion skills.
Typical merengue has always held a consistent place in the hearts of its fans, but it’s now experiencing a resurgence. The new performers are doing an exceptional job, both from outside the Dominican Republic and from the towns of Cibao and the northeast, particularly the province of María Trinidad Sánchez (Nagua), which is considered the cradle of typical merengue.
Fefita la Grande is the leading figure in Dominican typical music performed by women. Women in typical music are demonstrating strength and growth, with around 50 active female performers.
Groups like Urbanda, Maxbanda, D’Ahora, El Blachy, Nexo Group, Aris Jackson and his Typical King, El Rubio del Acordeón, Banda Ideal, Joel el Insuperable, and Dotados are among the most popular and in-demand.
This movement also includes a new generation of female artists, including La Barbie del Acordeón, La Inquieta Típica, Nelly Swing, and La Doncella del Acordeón, who have gained significant recognition.
Their musical compositions show a natural evolution of the rhythm, occasionally deviating from the original style but still preserving the instruments that breathe life into perico ripiao. In doing so, they pay tribute to legendary merengue musicians like Bautista Pascasio, Ñico Lora, Lolo Reynoso, and Carmelito Duarte, among other virtuosos and pioneers of the genre.
These new artists, in addition to being skilled accordion players, also have dancers and talented performers as part of their acts. They bring a modern twist to traditional songs while also introducing new, catchy tunes with playful lyrics.
While some of these groups have been in the market for over a decade, they are all part of a movement that is reviving accordion, güira, and tambora-driven merengue.
Typical merengue has found a new generation of performers who are revitalizing the genre, unlike many other musical styles.
Unlike traditional merengue, these young musicians are showing a keen interest in playing the accordion and singing perico ripiao, a key element in typical merengue.
One example of this movement is Urbanda, a group that was formed in Santiago de los Caballeros in 2011. In their 11-year journey, they have built an extensive repertoire of merengue and gained thousands of followers in both the Dominican Republic and abroad.
In 2018, Urbanda made a significant impact with their adaptation of the Spanish ballad “Quien” by Pablo Alborán, elevating typical music to new heights.
Jorge Lewis, the leader of Urbanda, is credited with creating one of the finest arrangements in the history of typical music.
In 2016, young talents Víctor Cuevas “Shobby La Voz,” Máximo Rodríguez “Max” (accordionist), and his brother Manuel Rodríguez “Manny” (bassist) founded “Maxbanda” in New York. They quickly gained a significant following among the Dominican diaspora.
Some of their musical hits include “Los artistas,” “Hasta que me olvides,” “Que maldad,” “La cama,” “Como yo,” “Me hubieras dicho,” and “Adiós amor.”
Max and Manny moved to New York as children and were deeply connected to their Dominican cultural roots. Víctor, who is no longer with the group, came up with the name “Maxbanda.”
The success of Grupo D’Ahora, formed in 2017, is attributed to the fact that many of its members received their training in El Prodigio’s band, including Aris Jackson, Bebé “Tambora,” and Junior “El Güirú.”
Their first hit, “Quiéreme,” made them one of the leaders in New York City, and they followed it up with successful tracks like “Si no te hubieras ido” and “Sin respirar.”
In 2021, they released their first album, “GDA” (Grupo D’ Ahora), featuring seven original songs. The following year, they went viral on social media with the #ArisJacksonChallenge on TikTok and Instagram. Grupo D’Ahora has established itself as a dominant force in the New York music scene and beyond.
Aris Jackson decided to go solo and formed his group, Aris Jackson Típico King, a year ago. He was known as the “sexy boy” of Grupo D’Ahora, captivating audiences with his provocative dance moves.
Aris Jackson is now a celebrity with a unique stage presence that sets him apart from other typical music groups. Since his debut in July 2022, his project has become one of the most sought-after typical bands in New York and other states with a large Dominican population.
Just two days after his debut, on July 29, 2022, he released a music video in collaboration with Musicólogo “El Libro” covering the song “Mesero.” Aris Jackson’s journey in music began with Pablo Martínez’s band in the Dominican Republic, and he later led the group Reto in New York. He was also part of Rikarena and Wilfrido Vargas’s bands.
El Blachy, also known as Blas Fragoso, has focused on romantic merengue and is known for his melodious voice. In 2020, he launched his project “El Blachy y su Romantiqueo Típico.” He gained experience in Banda Real and was also a part of Wilfrido Vargas’s orchestra.
He explained his connection with romantic and emotional songs, stating that they make people think and reflect on love and passion. Over the years, he has maintained his popularity in the typical merengue genre.
Nexo is another typical music group that originated in New York in 2016. It comprises well-known figures who have been part of various other bands, including Luis Reyes Batista “Kikito Sax,” Miguel Peralta “Rubirosa,” Delvis Brito “La Belleza” Tambora, Frayan Batista “La Mafia” Güira, the experienced singer Juan Reyes, Christopher Batista (accordionist), and other highly regarded members in the typical music scene.
Raphy Díaz, before becoming a prominent figure in typical merengue, was a renowned singer in traditional merengue orchestras such as Coqui Acosta, Henry Hierro, Alex Bueno, Orquesta Liberación de Carlos David, Wilfrido Vargas, Coco Band, El Zafiro, and Toño Rosario, to name a few.
He saw an opportunity in typical merengue and decided to move to Santiago, where he joined José El Calvo’s typical group in 2004. He stayed with the band for seven years as the lead singer before forming his own successful group.
El Rubio Acordeón, who initially ventured into urban music, has gone viral on social media with “El abogado” (Mariela). Known as “El Rubito,” he is a skilled accordionist with a deep understanding of the instrument. Hailing from San Francisco de Macorís, he learned to play the accordion from the renowned acordeonista Lupe Valerio, whom he considers his mentor.
In the pulsating heart of the “NYC Typical” movement, the resurgence of typical merengue is not just a musical evolution; it’s a cultural renaissance. The vibrant landscape of new performers, epitomized by trailblazing groups like D’Ahora, Maxbanda, and Urbanda, has breathed fresh life into the genre. The accordion, güira, and tambora, once echoes of tradition, are now instruments of innovation.
The rise of powerful female voices like La Barbie del Acordeón and La Doncella del Acordeón further illustrates the genre’s inclusive transformation. As Aris Jackson’s solo career takes center stage, and El Blachy weaves romantic melodies, the diversity within typical merengue becomes its strength.
This movement, fueled by a deep respect for roots yet unafraid to push boundaries, cements typical merengue as not just a genre but a dynamic cultural force. The infectious rhythms of perico ripiao, now carried by a new generation, ensure that typical merengue is not just finding its place in the hearts of fans once more but is, unequivocally, here to stay.