With merengue, it’s all about the hips. That’s why you need songs that are both sensual and upbeat at the same time!
Merengue is a style of Dominican Republic song and dance wherein partners hold each other in a closed position. In the closed position, the leader holds the follower’s waist with his right hand and holds the follower’s waist with his left hand. At the starting position, knees must be bent to allow both partners to move their hips left and right. And when the music comes on, it’s the hips that feel the rhythm!
But first, a little history about the merengue
It was former Dominican Republic president Rafael Trujillo who made the merengue the official dance of the Dominican Republic. It’s said that this dance was created by enslaved laborers who worked in sugar beet fields. The merengue was the movement these laborers would make because they were chained at the ankle, and thus could only move in a limited manner.
Another version of the story says that it comes from acoustic groups. Back in the 20th century, merengue music was primarily led by a guitar and accordions were added later on.
There’s a version of the merengue called the merengue tipico, which originated in Navarrete near the city of Santiago. It’s said to be the oldest style of merengue, though it focuses more on the music than the dance – thus emphasizing the music’s traditional nature.
Elvis Crespo – Suavemente (Merengue Vesrion)
Elvis Crespo is known as the merengue king. Suavamente was one of his most popular songs, so it’s no surprise that there exists a merengue version of the song. Suavemente is actually a song about kissing, with the title literally translating to “softly.” In the song, Crespo urges his lady love to kiss him because it makes him feel like he’s floating on air in a sweet dream. It’s these romantic lyrics that can urge you to become just a little more sensual with your dance.
Olga Tanon – Muchacho Malo
Of all the merengue songs from Olga Tanon, we had to pick this one because of its provocative lyrics. Muchacho Malo literally translates to a bad boy. In the song, Olga laments how she’s so in love with a bad boy who’s ignoring her. She feels like he’s killing her with every moment that he’s not with her, and she wishes desperately for his affection. So in the end, she asks him to either leave him alone or give his heart to her.
Wilfrido Vargas – Abusadora
As if a reply to Olga Tanon’s song about a bad boy, Wilfrido Vargas wrote this song about an abusive woman. In Abusadora, Wilfrido sings about a selfish woman who left him miserable and desolate. However, she’s looking to come back to him even if he’s already with a good woman. So to drive the point home that he no longer wants her, Wilfrido tells her to suffer that prison sentence without him because he’s done with her. Harsh!
Fernando Villalona – Dominicano Soy
Moving on from bad boys and selfish girls, let’s move on to a more patriotic track to celebrate merengue’s status as the official dance of the Dominican Republic. Dominicano Soy literally translates to
“I’m Dominican.” In this song, Fernando Villalona declares his pride for the country where he comes from. He takes pride in being from a humble race born from the hills and reaching for the stars.
Antony Santos – No Te Vayas
Next up we have a melancholy track from Antony Santos. While merengue is known for being an upbeat and sensual song, you’ll find that there are a lot of merengue songs that have sad lyrics. Perhaps it’s a way of saying that even though you’re heartbroken and miserable, you can still dance the pain away.
In this song, Antony sings about a woman who has left him. He pleads with her not to leave him because his soul will die without her. He explains that even though others may claim that his love for her isn’t true, he insists that those are lies created to make her leave him. And in the end, he comes to the realization that she truly doesn’t love him anymore.
Los Toros Band – Mi Primer Millon
Before Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars started singing about wanting to be billionaires, we had the boys of Los Toros Band dreaming of making it big in Miami. In Mi Primer Millon, which translates to my first million, the boys sing about being sick of living in debt and wanting to move Miami to become famous singers. They want to hear the people wing as they make tons of money to buy whatever the want.
Eddy Herrera – Amor de Locos
Before Beyonce sang about being crazy in love with Jay-Z, we had merengue balladeer Eddy Herrera singing about his crazy love for a woman. Thankfully, the feeling is mutual!
In this song, he calls her the note that he needs to the cord of his life. She completes him in every way, and he wants to make all her dreams come true. And even though so many people believed that their love wouldn’t last, their crazy, passionate, ecstatic love for each other beat the odds.
Kumbia Kings – Sshh!
Who’d have thought a breakup song could be so catchy? Kumbia Kings’ Sshh! is a song about feeling like going crazy because your girl simply won’t shut up about everything. In the song, the Kings are complaining about a girl who’d start screaming when she doesn’t get her way. So their solution is to tell her to shut up and then promptly break up with her. It’s not exactly the most romantic or sensual song to dance the merengue to, but it’s certainly a catchy tune that will get you to shut up and start dancing to the beat!
Los Hermanos Rosario – Ese Muchacha
This is a song for merengue dancers who have their moves down pat! It’s a high-energy song that fast and catchy, making it the perfect song for showing off how well you can dance the merengue. The song is about a man who’s complimenting a woman on her awesome dance moves, and subtly hinting that he wants to take her home. So if you’re looking to impress your merengue dance partner with your moves (or maybe flirt with someone on the dance floor), this is the song for you!
Maluma – La Temperatura
Get the temperature rising with this dance party track from Maluma. It’s a song about feeling all hot and bothered because of a sexy mamita he sees on the dance floor. This modern track is a mix of rap and merengue beats, which make it the perfect way to introduce the merengue to a younger crowd. With sexy lyrics and a heart-stopping beat, you can’t go wrong with La Temperatura!
With all these sexy, sensual, and upbeat tracks you can dance the merengue to, you’ll never run out of music to play whenever you feel like dancing! So go on and get your hands on these tracks, grab a partner you want to dance with, and dance the night away. It will probably be the most fun and flirty exercise you’ll ever partake in!