For any merengue típico fans: here’s a fun video of La India Canela talking about the accordion during recording sessions in the Dominican Republic. Unlike big-band merengue, merengue típico centers on the accordion and relentless improvisation. And despite being a rare female accordionist (and bandleader), she has won the Dominican’s highest prize in the arts (the Casandra) twice and is nationally famous for her music. Born Lidia Maria Hernandez Lopez, she was nicknamed “La India Canela” (“Cinnamon Indian”) by a radio host who said it described her look and musical flavor.
If you want to hear more, be sure to check out her recent release on the Smithsonian Folkways label.