Francisco Ulloa

Genres: World
Decades: 1990s 2000s


Dominican Republic. Accordion master Francisco Ulloa was born in a hamlet near Quita Suenos Altamira, in the Puerto Plata region of the Dominican Republic. In this isolated locale, with only four households in the same valley, his father played accordion for entertainment, but on the only occasion Francisco touched the instrument ‘he hit me!’. He grew up largely with grandparents while finding employment climbing palm trees and ploughing the fields. By the time he was 18 he had acquired his first accordion and began to play merengue tipico at local fiestas. Merengue tipico is an alarmingly fast traditional hybrid usually reserved for master players. As Ulloa elaborated: ‘It’s a hot rhythm from the earth, a rhythm God has given with great taste to the world.’ Merengue traditionally comprises various distinct, stylized sections. The first stage accompanies a man asking a woman to dance and their initial exchanges together, and it is this...

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