Music of Haiti
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v · Creole, is a music genre native to Haiti (West Hispaniola). It is musically and historically connected to Dominican Merengue. It is a guitar-based style (unlike the primarily accordion-based Merengue), and is generally sung in Haitian Creole.



The history of méringue is similar to that of much Caribbean popular music. The blend of African and European cultures has created popular dance music, music played on simple acoustic instruments by artists who don't need theaters or microphones to show off their art.

Like Jamaican mento, Cuban son, Belizean brukdon, Dominican Merengue and many other Caribbean styles, Méringue is played by artists who are usually anonymous and, although their music is very much alive, they tend to be called "traditional." Haiti Cherie brings together the best traditional Méringue bands presenting a repertoire of mostly anonymous classics.

One exception is "Ti zwaso," an old méringue with lyrics by Haitian poet Oswald Durand. Harry Belafonte popularized it internationally as "little Bird," and it is now often mistakenly presented as Jamaican mento.

The music creates a street party where couples dance belt-buckle to belt-buckle to a rhythm that they recognize as their own. This music is the roots of the sound produced by Haiti's international stars: groups like Tabou Combo, Caribbean Sextet, Missile 727 amongst others. —Courtesy Calabash Music

Méringue VS Merengue

According to “Merengue: Dominican Music and Dominican Identity” By Paul Austerlitz, we will probably never know the true origin of the Merengue/Méringue music because both the Dominican Republic and Republic of Haiti claimed its origin and it is very important to both counties. He mentions that there are theories about it express deep-noted feelings about Dominican Identity and there are some that directly links it to the Haitian Méringue (Mereng in Haitian Creole). He continues to say that although they differ in important ways, the Dominican Republic and Haiti share many cultural characteristics. Like Merengue in the Dominican Republic, Méringue is a national symbol in Haiti. He points out that Jean Fouchard believes that Mereng evolved from the fusion of slaves music such as the Chica and Calenda with ballroom forms related to the French Contredance (1988: 5-9). And the Mereng’s name derives from the Mouringue Music of the Bara, a Bantu people of Madagascar (1973:110, 1988: 77-82). That few Malagasies came to the Americas renders this etymology dubious, but it is significant because it foregrounds what Fouchard, and most Haitians, consider the essentially African derived nature of the music and National identity.’ Dominican Merengue, Jean Fouchard suggests, developed directly from Haitian Mereng (1988:66).

Austerlitz also points out that Dominicans are often disinclined to admit African and Haitian influences on their culture. In his interview with ethnomusicologist Martha Davis, she points out that many Dominican scholars “have, at the least, ignored African influence in Santo Domingo. At the worst, they have bent over backwards to convince themselves and their readers of the one hundred percent Hispanic content of their culture. This is not an uncommon Latin American reaction to the inferiority complex produced by centuries of Spanish colonial Domination”. As example, the Merengue innovator Luis Alberti, claimed that Merengue “has nothing to do with black or African rhythms,” (1975:71). In addition, Austerlitz points out that the Dominican proclivity to deny connections with Africa is related to the anti-Haitian sentiment, and relationships between the national music of Haiti and Dominican Republic have often been ignored of downplayed in the Dominican Merengue scholarship. In several standard Dominican sources that mention Merengue in Puerto Rico and other countries, competent scholars neglect to acknowledge even the existence of Haitian Mereng (del Castillo and Garcia Arevalo 1989: 17; Lizardo 1978a, b; Nolasco 1956:321-41). In fact, for Esteban Pena Morel, one of the few Dominicans to admit a connection between Merengue and Méringue, this link renders Merengue inappropriate as a Dominican symbol; he suggests another genre, the Mangulina, as more representative of National culture (1929, sec. 3:1, 3).


See also


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  • meringue — [ mərɛ̃g ] n. f. • 1691; o. i., p. ê. du polonais marzynka ♦ Préparation sucrée très légère à base de blancs d œufs battus en neige, que l on fait cuire à four doux. Meringue glacée (⇒ vacherin) , au chocolat. ● meringue nom féminin (peut être… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • meringué — meringué, ée (me rin ghé, ghée) adj. Dont le dessus est semblable à la crème des meringues. Gâteau meringué. •   Si ces gâteaux n étaient pas légers et comme meringués, il faudrait y mettre plus de potasse qu on ne l a prescrit, GENLIS Mais. rust …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • meringue — (n.) whites of eggs mixed with sugar, 1706, from Fr. méringue (18c.), of unknown origin …   Etymology dictionary

  • meringue — ► NOUN 1) beaten egg whites and sugar baked until crisp. 2) a small cake made of meringue. ORIGIN French …   English terms dictionary

  • Meringue — Me ringue (F. m[ e] r[a^]N g ; E. m[e^]*r[a^]ng ), n. [F.] A delicate pastry made of powdered sugar and the whites of eggs whipped up, with jam or cream added. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • meringue — [mə raŋ′] n. [Fr < ?] 1. egg whites mixed with sugar, beaten until stiff, spread over pies, cakes, etc., and often browned in the oven 2. a baked shell made of this mixture, often filled with fruit or ice cream …   English World dictionary

  • Meringue — This article is about the dessert. For the Dominican folk dance and music, see Merengue (dance). For the Haitian folk music, see Méringue. Meringue with whipped cream …   Wikipedia

  • Meringue — Cet article possède des paronymes, voir : Méringue (danse) et Merengue …   Wikipédia en Français

  • meringue — /meuh rang /, n. 1. a delicate, frothy mixture made with beaten egg whites and sugar or hot syrup, and browned, used as a topping for pies, pastry, etc. 2. a pastry or pastry shell made by baking such a mixture, sometimes filled with fruit,… …   Universalium

  • méringue — /may rang /, n., v.i., méringued, méringuing. merengue. [ < F < Haitian Creole] * * * ▪ food       mixture of stiffly beaten egg whites and sugar that is used in confections and desserts. The invention of meringue in 1720 is attributed to a Swiss …   Universalium

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