Smithsonian Institution
Search
Festival Blog
Free Festival App
Festival Radio
Join Our Email Mailing List
Smithsonian Folkways Magazine
Support the Festival

Smithsonian Folklife Festival
Las Americas

La India Canela

Lidia María Hernández López is La India Canela, a renowned female accordionist of merengue típico. Accompanied by tambora (drum), güira (metal rasp), congas, alto saxophone, and electric bass, Hernández adds her own spice to the national music of the Dominican Republic. Rooted in the mountainous Cibao region, the merengue típico's driving dance beat, aggressive improvisations, and down-home lyrics make it an irresistible Caribbean original.

  • Lidia María Hernández López, director, accordion, vocals
  • Martín Mercedes Abreu Mejía, vocals
  • Kerlyn Rafael Coronado Reyes, güira
  • Francisco Dionisio Espinal Reyes, conga drums
  • Juan Pablo García Ramos, vocals
  • Dioni Núñez Núñez, electric bass
  • Candido Iturbides Pérez Reynoso, saxophone
  • Roberto Carlos Rodríguez Díaz, tambora

Click image to enlarge. Following an earlier generation of merengue típico women accordionists, La India Canela adds her own flourishes to the national dance music of the Dominican Republic. "One embellishes it a little so that people let loose dancing," she explains. Photo by Daniel Sheehy, Smithsonian.

01: La India Canela discusses her passion for the accordion and demonstrates its role in merengue típico during recording sessions for Smithsonian Folkways in Santiago, Dominican Republic, in 2007.
02: La India Canela discusses how modern musical and cultural influences are changing the traditional merengue típico sound.

Merengue Típico
from the Dominican Republic