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No ma’ se oye el fuinfuán

No ma’ se oye el fuinfuán

The Noisy Accordion in the Dominican Republic

(p.249) 12 No ma’ se oye el fuinfuán
The Accordion in the Americas
Sydney Hutchinson
University of Illinois Press

Merengue is widely recognized as the national music of the Dominican Republic, its most popular and best-known export. In the twentieth century, merengue split into different genres, catering to different social groups: the orquesta merengue, centered around wind and brass instruments, and the accordion-based merengue típico. This chapter examines how the accordion is played in Dominican merengue típic. It outlines historical and contemporary meanings of the accordion as related to class, ethnicity, and gender, suggesting that the instrument often embodies Dominicans' changing ideas about themselves. To construct this argument, it relies on newspaper articles, scholarly and lay histories, the visual arts, interviews with practitioners, and the author's own fieldwork conducted among típico musicians in New York City and Santiago, the Dominican Republic's second-largest city and center of the Cibao, since 2001 and 2004, respectively.

Keywords:   accordion, musical instruments, Dominican Republic, merengue típico

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