Visiting Research Fellow from Bowling Green State University


CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Research Fellow Pablo Gómez-Estévez busy at work!

Pablo Gómez-Estévez is a Graduate Student in Composition and Graduate Assistant of Composition Department from the College of Musical Arts in the Bowling Green State University. He is currently working with The Rafael Petitón Guzmán Collection.



Delightful Visit and Conversation with Gina B Voices

It was a pleasure meeting and spending time with Gina Bess-Bonilla who shared information about her family history, including Dominican musician Ramón E. García (1907-1989).

Photo 1 (2)
From left to right: Dr. Vanessa K. Valdés, Prof. Sarah Aponte, Gina Bess-Bonilla, and Librarian Jhensen Ortiz, April 3, 2023

To see photos that feature Ramón E. García, you can visit A History of Dominican Music in the United States website:

  1. Press photo of Ramón García's band the Conjunto Típico Cibao, please click here
  2. Ramón García with Angel Viloria y su Conjunto Típico Cibaeño performing at the legendary Palladium Ballroom in New York City with Haydee Malagon in 1953, please click here
  3. Ramón García with Dominican bandleader Josecito Roman and his orchestra Quisqueya in 1949, including his brothers Brunito Garcia (1909-1972), José Garcia (1904-1965), Tito Garcia, Nino Garcia, sisters Ana Luisa (1905-2002) and Ligia García (1921-2005), please click here
  4. Ramón García with brother Brunito Garcia and Dominican percussionist Luis Quintero in Washington D.C. at the Dominican embassy in 1953, please click here 
  5. Front cover of the concert program for the "Merengue Songbook/Cancionero del Merengue" which took place on September 29, 1951, please click here
  6. Press photo of Angel Viloria y su Conjunto Típico Cibaeño where Ramón García is pictured with the alto saxophone, please click here

 Gina Bess-Bonilla is the voice narrator for the exhibition Juan de Pareja, Afro-Hispanic Painter at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) in New York City. To learn more and hear the Audio Guide, please click here. The exhibit was co-curated by Dr. Vanessa K. Valdés, Associate Provost at the City College of New York (pictured above).

By Prof. Sarah Aponte and Librarian Jhensen Ortiz

President of Fundación Refidomsa Félix (Felucho) Jiménez donates unique Dominican music collection to the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library

Chief Librarian Prof. Sarah Aponte would like to thank Mr. Félix (Felucho) Jiménez for his generous music collection donation to our CUNY DSI Library. We would like to acknowledge CUNY DSI Director and Sociology Professor Dr. Ramona Hernández for her continuous support to the library.

Dr. Herandnez Felucho Jimenez and Dean Andy Rich
From left to right: Dr. Ramona Hernández (CUNY DSI Director), Felucho Jiménez (Refidomsa President), and Dr. Andy Rich (CCNY School of Colin Powell Dean)

This important donation includes a Dominican music anthology conceived and compiled by Dominican economist, politician, and writer Félix (Felucho) Jiménez, who supervised the production of the entire project. Divided into seven collections, the anthology includes folkloric and romantic songs, as well as classical and popular music. The 24 CD collection contains 1,588 songs. In addition, each album offers a CD booklet with extensive liner notes with the names and biographies of orchestras, musicians, and composers. This comprehensive collection encapsulates a stylistic and historical panorama of Dominican music, from big band merengue to countryside palos, mangulina, bachata, carabiné, son, fusión, and baladas pop. The anthology attests to the rich diversity of genres, composers, and interpreters of Dominican music and its contributions to Caribbean culture.

Felucho Jimenez donation 2 Félix (Felucho) Jiménez with donated materials

List of donated materials received from Mr. Jiménez to be part of the CUNY DSI growing music library collection:

Jiménez, Félix. Antología musical: Luis Kalaff & Luis Rivera, Bullumba Landestoy & Moisés, Billo Frómeta & Mario de Jesús. Santiago de los Caballeros, República Dominicana: Fundación Refidomsa, 2019.

Jiménez, Félix. Canto a Quisqueya. Santo Domingo, República Dominicana: Fundación Refidomsa, 2019-2020.

Jiménez, Félix. Clásicos Dominicanos Vol.1-6. Santo Domingo, República Dominicana: Fundación Refidomsa, 2008.

Jiménez, Félix. Orquestas y Conjuntos dominicanos del siglo XX Vol. 1-6. Santo Domingo, República Dominicana: Fundación Refidomsa, 2019-2020.

Jiménez, Félix. Voces dominicanas de ayer y siempre Vol. 1-4. Santiago de los Caballeros, República Dominicana: Fundación Refidomsa, 2019-2020.

Jiménez, Félix. Canción romántica dominicana Vol. 1-3. Santo Domingo, República Dominicana: Fundación Refidomsa, 2019-2020.

Jiménez, Félix. Un siglo de música dominicana Vol. 1-3. Santo Domingo, República Dominicana: Fundación Refidomsa, 2020.

Felucho Jimenez donation

Once again, we are grateful for this kind donation. This music collection is of interest to those conducting research on Dominican traditional music, Dominican popular music, Dominican classical music, and musical collaborative projects.

Jhensen Ortiz, Librarian



Prof. Sarah Aponte would like to thank VICINI for donating this magnificent publication. Images from the book Identity and Magic: Folk Dances of the Dominican Republic will be on view from May 17 to August 17. The opening reception will feature the well-known Dominican folklorist Dagoberto Tejeda Ortiz and will be held on Friday May, 17th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. Admission to the reception is free and open to the public: please register at

Identidad y magia: bailes folklóricos de la República Dominicana / Identity and Magic: Folk Dances of the Dominican Republic. Santo Domingo, República Dominicana: Vicini, 2012.

Identidad y Magia

This beautiful coffee table book recounts the history and evolution of folkloric dances in the Dominican Republic. The book was written by Dagoberto Tejeda Ortiz, a well-known researcher who has dedicated many pages to investigating the subject.  (Many of his books are available at DSI for perusal). It narrates the story of the Dominican Republic’s folk dances through multimedia: writing, photography, illustration and a documentary video. This combination provides a great, interdisciplinary overview of dances and themes examined in each chapter.

Identity and Magic Folk Dances of the Dominican Republic is an important resource for researchers, students, dancers, musicologists, ethnographers, musicians and the general public interested in Dominican folkloric traditions, dances, and history.  It is a comprehensive text that seeks to spread, share and promote the essence of folk dances and culture in the Dominican Republic.

Jhensen Ortiz, Library Intern

iASO Records donates music albums to our Library

Chief Librarian Sarah Aponte would like to thank Benjamin de Menil and iASO Records for their kind donation of Dominican-related music volumes to our Library.

This donation includes something for everyone, especially bachata enthusiasts and interests. Bachata Breakdown: for dancers, instructors, musicians and enthusiasts is an album that includes a breakdown of bachata rhythms and sounds coupled with the rhythm a dancer needs to hold while dancing. This sort of album is perfect for those learning how to dance and for those looking to teach others about bachata.

Bachata BreakDown

The DVD Bachata Breakdown: ¡En Vivo! gives the same sort of introduction but this time you get to see everything in video form, with the musicians playing their instruments and introducing the sounds and rhythms they will be playing.



Familia SorianoLa Familia Soriano is a music album that introduces the world to the musical talents of Joan Soriano’s sisters Nelly and Griselda, and brother Fernando. This album offers 14 tracks, some of which are solo tracks as well as collaborations between the siblings. Something notable about this album is that some of the songs included are covers. The covers give us a look into the personalities and likenesses since the artist, be it Joan or any of his siblings, insert some of their own flare that makes their version stand on its own when compared to the original rendition. For example “Unión eterna”, “Cuanto lloré”, and “Vamos hablar inglés”.

El Duque de la Bachata is one of Joan Soriano’s solo works. The album features 12 tracks, which are a mix of bachata and merengue. Soriano delivers on every track, conveying happiness and good times in tracks like “María Elena” and sadness and uncertainty in tracks like “Su lado de cama” and “¿Que pasará mañana?” As a bonus the DVD The Duke of Bachata is included. This DVD gives us a glimpse into the life of Soriano as a struggling bachatero trying to “make it”. For more in depth information on this DVD please click here.

Bachata LegendsThe compilation album Bachata Legends features artists such as Ramón Cordero, el Chivo Sin Ley, and Leonardo Paniagua. This album takes us to the early days of bachata when the musical style would best be referred to as amargue (bitterness) with tracks such as “Con el amor no se juega” by Augusto Santos and “Bendita nena” by El Chivo Sin Ley. Bachata Legends features 14 tracks somehow different from the mainstream bachata. This album is a plus for the traditional bachata enthusiasts or for those interested in hearing their favorite hits in a higher fidelity.

Puerto plata ccRunning with the theme of traditional bachata, we have Puerto Plata and his albums Casita de Campo and Mujer de Cabaret, both include traditional bachata songs. The albums also include some original work that corresponds well with the classic tracks, showing that the old school bachata is ingrained deeply in the blood of Puerto Plata.


Once again thanks to Benjamin de Menil and iASO Records for donating and bringing out all this music for the world to hear and enjoy. Aside from the music quality, the packaging of the discs themselves should also be noted; some come in cardboard cases that feature art, booklets that contain biographies and other historical information surrounding the artist and the music. The albums as well as their packages are made with great care and appreciation for those enthusiasts and for those new comers who would love to learn more about this music genre. If you would like to know more about iASO records please visit

Antonio Perez, Library Intern

Paul Austerlitz visits our DSI Library and donates his 2008 CD Journey

Prof. Sarah Aponte would like to thank Professor Paul Austerlitz for donating his 2008 compact disk to the Dominican Library at CUNY/DSI during his recent visit. Prof. Austerlitz, author of Merengue: Dominican Music and Dominican Identity (Temple University Press 1997) has conducted extensive research on Dominican music while incorporating it into his own jazz compositions.

Journey. Produced by Paul Austerlitz. St Paul, Minnesota, 2008. Spanish and English, 72 min.


This 14-track compact disk explores Afro-Dominican musical traditions through the versatile lens of jazz and improvisation. Professor Austerlitz, a jazz musician, author and ethnomusicologist, enlists a group of accomplished Dominican, African and American musicians and poets to create and re-arrange new, old and forgotten Dominican Palo and merengue music as well as traditional Yoruba compositions from Cuba and jazz standards from the United States (“Ornithology”).

The CD is divided into five thematic “chapters” that tell the story of a journey: The first chapter or introduction explores religious invocation rooted in the African tradition (“Bara Súwà Yo”). The second chapter entitled “Palo and Beyond” features four tracks that range from traditional Dominican Palo (“Underground Palo”) to beautiful and tender jazz melodies (“One Peace”); experimental drone musical jams (“Journey”) and a blend of Afro-Dominican music with jazz (“Thunder Flow”). Chapter three “Merengue and Bebop” presents three arrangements by Austerlitz (“Ornithology” , “Sisterhood is powerful”  and “Santiago”) that demonstrate his ability to communicate in the universal idiom of sound by blending together unexpected colors and variations from different parts of the world. One of the highlights of this chapter is the light classical piano piece “Santiago”, a 1927 merengue written by Julio Alberto Hernandez . Austerlitz also incorporates text and the oral tradition into his forward-looking musical world. Further, central to his work is collaboration among musicians which allows him to develop what he calls “conversation”. Musical conversation is present in chapter four under the theme of “Poetry and Song” which is comprised of five distinctive tracks. One of the highlights is “East Broadway Merengue” featuring renowned poet Michael S. Harper reading “The Latin American Poem”. The journey ends with chapter five entitled “Out-Vocation” a shorter—and much calmer— version of the CD’s opening track.

Journey is an innovative musical work that serves as a companion to Austerlitz’s research on the intersection of Afro-Caribbean music and jazz.  Featuring Barry Olsen, Angelina Tallaj, Bernie Minoso, Dave Zinno, Juan Valdez, Phoenix Rivera, Royal Hartigan, Wellington Valenzuela, Kwaku Kwaakye, José Duluc, Julio Figueroa, Michael S. Harper, Regie Gibson and Renee Cologne.

This recording is of interest to those conducting research on music theory, jazz composition, free jazz and improvisation, non-Western musical notation, African oral tradition, avant-garde music, Jazz music in Dominican Republic, Afro-Dominican and Cuban music, Yoruba music, African traditional music, drone music, trance music and musical collaboration projects between Caribbean, African and North American artists.

Amaury Rodríguez, Library Research Assistant


Gagá Batey San Luis donated to the DSI audiovisual collection

Chief Librarian Sarah Aponte would like to thank Eduardo Díaz, Director of the Smithsonian Latino Center, for donating Gagá Batey San Luis, a 2010 digital film produced by Boynayel Mota, with an accompanying CD which documents Gagá music and afro-Caribbean religious festivities from the Dominican Republic. This multimedia project (film, music, photography, installation and mural) was presented at the Centro Cultural de España in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic from October 5 to November 12, 2010.  Researcher/ anthropologist Soraya Aracena wrote the introduction to the photography exhibit catalogue (ISBN: 978-9945-8682-2-7).


Gagá Batey San Luis. Directed andProduced by Boynayel Mota. Santo Domingo, República Dominicana. 2010. Spanish/ Haitian Creole with English subtitles. Color, 60 minutes. DVD. [The video includes a 20-track compact disk of field recording music and a photographic exhibit catalogue].

Filmed in a batey (sugar workers’ town) during a 10-year period, this groundbreaking documentary by photographer and filmmaker Boynayel Mota looks at Gagá music in the Haitian-Dominican community of San Luis, a municipality of the Santo Domingo province in the Dominican Republic. Although it is primarily rooted in Africa, Gagá music is based on a syncretized belief system that, from time to time, experiences a myriad series of transformations by absorbing elements from both the local and international cultural scene ranging from Catholic saints to jazz and Mediterranean instruments. Over the years, Gagá music has merged with other forms of popular art and music. This joyful sound owes much of its vitality to the presence of second and third generation Dominicans of Haitian descent whose forbearers were sugar cane laborers who began to arrive to the Dominican Republic in the 1920s. A number of economic push factors established an ongoing migration pattern from Haiti to the Dominican Republic notwithstanding the decline of the sugar industry in recent years.


The filmmaker’s keen eye for detail captures some of the most vivid aspects of Gagá musical performances, bands and traditions. Through well-edited interviews with veteran and young musicians, community members and practitioners of Vodun or Vudun, the documentary disserts the ritualistic practices within Gagá festivities held annually during Holy Week and which include, among other things, food offerings, trance ceremonies; consumption of food, rum and medicinal herbs; songs sung in Haitian Creole; religious symbols and drawings rooted in African imagery; African instruments, music and dance; street parades, costumes, Loa or Lwa spirit invocations as well as rites of passage, African death rituals and fertility rituals.


At 60 minutes long, Gagá Batey San Luisprovides much insight into Gagá music and religious celebrations in a Haitian-Dominican town. Further, this audiovisual and musical project takes the viewer into a world of otherworldly aural perceptions that brings solace to a community that has been traditionally marginalized. Both the video and field music recording are of interest to those conducting research on the following : the African legacy in the Dominican Republic, Haiti and the Caribbean; migration, ethnicity, popular music, African instruments, popular arts and crafts, carnival music, transculturation, Caribbean bilingual communities, cultural hybridity, folk medicine, ceremonial trance music and dance, Catholic festivities and Haitian-Dominican community relations.

Amaury Rodriguez, Library Research Assistant

Some audiovisual resources on Juan Bosch available at our DSI Library

Below please find some of the audiovisual materials available at our CUNY Dominican Studies Institute Library on Professor Juan Bosch who was a Dominican author, politician, and social scientist.

For more background information on Juan Bosch we recommend you view this excellent DVD in Spanish from our library’s audiovisual collection:

Elcaminodelahistoria270Juan Bosch: el camino de la historia. Produced by Guillermo-Piña Contreras. Santo Domingo, 1999. Color; 49 minutes. DVD.

This seminal biopic on Dominican writer and politician Juan Bosch looks at his early career and family upbringing, his political development and concerns about the social conditions of the peasantry as well as his exile in several Latin American countries during the Trujillo dictatorship. Kindly donated by CPEP(Comisión Permanente de Efemérides Patrias).

Juanboschendoscuentos273Juan Bosch en dos cuentos. Produced by Felix Germán. Santo Domingo, 2009. Spanish. Color; 26:50 minutes. DVD.

This digital film brings to the screen two short stories ("En un Bohío" and "Luis Pie") written by renowned Dominican author Juan Bosch. The film adaptation captures the social reality of Dominican rural life during the tumultuous decades of the 1920s and 1930s. Donated by CPEP(Comisión Permanente de Efemérides Patrias).

Vivirá: HomenajeVivira271 a Juan Bosch de Manuel Jiménez. Produced by Cundeamor Music. Santo Domingo, 2008. Spanish. 89 minutes. CD

This 2-disc CD arranged by Dominican composer Manuel Jiménez pays tribute to Juan Bosch whose work as author, politician and social scientist left an ever-lasting mark in 20th century Dominican life. Featuring Víctor Víctor, Claudia Serra, Luis Ángel, Sexappeal, Joe Vasconcelos, Sonia Silvestre, Sergio Pérez, J ennifer Pion, Ana Belén, Frank Reyes, Beethova Obas, Luis Díaz, José Antonio Rodríguez, Neo Ken, Sergio Vargas, Tambores de San Millán, Danny Rivera, Félix D’Oleo, Silvio Rodríguez, La Loba and Víctor Manuel.

Amaury Rodríguez

Library Research Assistant

Smithsonian Latino Center Donation

We are very grateful to our friend Eduardo Díaz, director of the Smithsonian Latino Center, for his recent donation of two classic collections of "perioco ripiao" one of the traditional dances from the Dominican Republic.

Eduardo is now "un dominicano adoptivo."

Ripiando el perico- Ripiando el perico [sound recording]: antología del merengue típico. By Huchi Lora. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: Grupo León Jimenes, 2005.

India Canela- La India Canela: Merengue típico from the Dominican Republic [sound recording].Washington, DC: Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2008.   1 sound disc