Felix Berroa: Perico Ripiao
Perico Ripiao, acrylic on canvas, 38″x48″, 2000
The artist Felix Berroa was born in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, and now lives in Atlanta, USA. Two of his musical paintings are featured in The Contessa’s Party CD booklet.
Felix translates the title:
‘Perico’ means ‘Periwig’ or parakeet
‘Ripiao’ is a countryside version for the Spanish ‘ripiado’, from the verb ‘ripiar’, that means ‘ripped’ from ‘rip’, to tear to pieces.
This is the traditional name for the original typical merengue, played with the tambora (drum with two skins to hit), guira, and accordion. Merengue started with guitar, guira and tambora.
Introduced later to the Dominican Republic was the German accordion, which took the place of the quitar. Today, merengue is played with many other instruments, such as saxophones, trumpets, bass, piano, guiro, or congas. (No accordion is used.)