Merengue is a musical genre and dance that emerged in the Dominican Republic (Cibao region) around 1850, and also performed by Puerto Rican artists. The genre is one of the most popular in Latin America and in many cities in the United States.
One of the hypotheses would be that it would come from a dance called the upa habanera which included a dance step called "merengue" but it could come from a rhythm called "mangulina"
The Merengue is a dance just a stone's throw away which would come for some from the movement of African slaves chained for others or from a hero of one of the many Haitian revolutions taken refuge in the Dominican Republic; injured in one leg he would have had a wooden leg.
That explains a side step with one foot trailing behind the other but which one? The other version speaks of a Cuban origin thanks to a dance called "urpa" which spread in the Caribbean between 1838 and 1849 which included a movement called "merengue"
The folk merengue (merengue típico or perico ripiao) uses an accordion, a güira, a tambora (en) and a small double-headed drum, sometimes a marimba, as well as the bandurria before the accordion supplants it.
Merengue remains a country dance, criticized by the bourgeoisie who preferred tumba francesa, until the dictator Rafael Trujillo declared it "official national dance". In the 1970s, merengue modernized and, under the influence of salsa, groups incorporated the piano, brass (trombone) and reeds (saxophone), then the synthesizer and the electric bass.
Juan Luis Guerra made merengue known internationally in 1990 with Ojalá que llueva Café. Suavemente of the Puerto Rican Elvis Crespo is one of the greatest successes.
In 2004, Papi Sánchez, by mixing merengue with rap, enjoyed international success with his title Enamorame.
Since 2009, we also see a new genre appearing called merengue electronico, fusion of merengue and electro, the pioneer is Omega with Que Tengo Que Hacer (taken over by Daddy Yankee), and among the successes we count Shakira and his hits Loca ( 2010) then Rabiosa (2011), Juan Magán and Bailando por ahi (2011); several hits are also remixed this way like Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO, Danza Kuduro by Don Omar and Lucenzo, and Tonight I'm Loving You by Enrique Iglesias.