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A Grand Dominicanazo!

Fans enjoying the Dominicanazo

Fans enjoying the Dominicanazo

El Dominicanazo, a concert presented by Assemblyman Nelson Castro (D-University Heights) in honor of Dominican independence, was held on February 25, 2012 at the Elizabeth Barrett Browning Middle School on 184th Street and Creston Avenue in the Fordham section of the Bronx.

The event, hosted by Andy Salas and Roberquis Jimenez, focused on the merengue of the 1980s, known as the genre’s golden era. “Merengue is our national symbol,” event organizer Sobeida Roque said. “This was the time where merengue became an international force.” Most of the audience grew up with the music of this era. “Even though I’m 19, my parents always listened to these merengueros,” Albania Iglesias said.

Some of the main attractions were Benny Sadel, who made women scream upon singing hits such as “Que Pasará” and “Maldita Sea.” Also performing was Charlie Rodriguez, formerly of El Equipo; Henry Garcia, formerly of La Tribu; Felipe Jorge, formerly of Grupo Felix; and Sandy Reyes, formerly of Wilfrido Vargas’s band.

Sandy Reyes Singing Some of His Hits

Sandy Reyes singing some of his hits

State Senator Adriano Espaillat (D-Upper Manhattan/Riverdale), who sat next to Assemblyman Castro and City Councilman Fernando Cabrera (D-West Bronx), said, “Sandy hit it right in the head when he sang, ‘Tengo un Pie Aquí y El Otro Allá,’ or ‘I have one foot here and the other over there. Many New Yorkers who drive taxis or work in restaurants were once professionals in the Dominican Republic.”

State Senator Adriano Espaillat (left), Assemblyman Nelson Castro, and Councilman Fernando Cabrera

State Senator Adriano Espaillat (left), Assemblyman Nelson Castro (center), and Councilman Fernando Cabrera (right)

Joining the merengue stars of the 1980s were local acts such as Grupo Xtasys, the dancers of Grupo Tanima, salsa dancer Vittico la Magia, and merengue artist Robert Duro Tambien, among others.

Grupo Xtasys

Grupo Xtasys

The three politicians, along with Dominican host Michael Miguel Holguin, discussed the changes set to occur in their homeland within upcoming elections. “We need to have a better future for our country,” Holguin said.

Dominicanazo organizer Sobeida Roque

Dominicanazo organizer Sobeida Roque

The pols also took time to recognize a few individuals, such as Holguin, Sobeida Roque, and Steve Santana, who is running for Male District Leader in Castro’s 86th Assembly District. In addition, they recognized those in attendance who were not necessarily Dominican. “This concert was filled with unity with various Hispanic groups who love and respect the Dominican culture,” Councilman Cabrera said.

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