The roots of the Tipico music are on the traditional Perico Ripiao type of Merengue. It is faster, acoustic and sounds more traditional. The reason why Dominican people have mostly abandoned their slow Merengue is because Tipico dancing feels better.

While travelling in Dominican Republic, you'll definitely see the signs of Tipico nights. This mean live band with 3 - 15 players and for sure you'll hear more than enough Tipico music. Depending on the band, they might also play Bachata.

The old school Perico Ripiao is played e.g. by Francisco Ulloa and Robert Vargas. The examples of the modern Tipico are Jose Calvo, Krisspy, Geovanny Polanco, Amarfis and Pakole.


The history of Merengue is an evolution story starting from Christopher Columbus. Columbus landed year 1500 into the island of Hispaniola. The place got the name Santo Domingo (holy Sunday). Columbus did not find any gold from the island, but he decided to establish a fort for discovering the rest of the Americas. The local people, Tainos, were captured to become slaves. Columbus killed them all, because they did not want to work. Instead he replaced the place with the African slaves. The recent genetic research reveals that the Tainos were not killed into extinction, which means the Dominican people carry the blood of taino, european and african people.

The African slaves imported drumming and they used to dance around the fireplace. The Spanish people regarded drumming as witchcraft an forbidded it. In the 1800 century the slaves were granted more freedom and they were allowed to extend the drumming with the european instruments. The result was called Mereng (meringue in French) in the Haiti part of Hispaniola island. The origin of the Merengue word might descend from the Haitian Mereng word. Anyway the music of the slaves were not allowed in the aristocratic salongs of Spaniards. On the other hand Merengue was spreading rapidly in the countryside of Hispaniola.

The power of Spaniards ended into the invasion of the USA in 1916. Leaving 8 years later USA left a political and defence gap, which was filled by the Dominican general Rafael Trujillo. He became a long time dictator and as a countryman his first decicion was to raise Merengue into the high class music status. At that time there were already many versions of Merengue. Perico Ripiao was one of them. The sawing and groaning, pretty fast tempo is created by drum, guiro, acordeon and singing combination.

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