Washington DC, USA – Continuing with its Latino music series, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings has released Quisqueya en el Hudson: Dominican Music in New York,’ a collection of religious and folk songs
endemic to the growing, influential community of immigrants from the Dominican Republic in New York City.
The album includes examples of the well-known merengue style, as well as salves, palos, gagas, other folk forms specific to Dominican culture and history, and progressive bachatas, which fuse traditional music with modern sounds. This music illuminates the development of a transnational Dominican-American
aesthetic that draws from Latin American, Caribbean, Cuban, African, and Haitian traditions.Attracted to the recording and performance opportunities established there by Puerto Rican immigrants, Dominican musicians began to migrate to New York City in the late 1920s, joining the pan-Latino mambo and salsa movements. By the 1970s, the Dominican sounds of merengue challenged the primacy of those styles
among Latin music fans in the U.S.
New York City is now home to the largest number of Dominicans outside of the Caribbean, and is a major site for the development of Dominican culture. It is impossible to think of New York’s Latin American and Caribbean culture apart from its Dominican component. Through the interaction of cultures in the city, musicians of all nationalities have performed merengue as well as the less commercial forms represented on ‘Quisqueya en el Hudson.’