Perico Ripiao is one of the three types of merengue played in Dominican Republic. This is considered the typical type of merengue and the oldest still played. It originated in the Santiago area in the Cibao Valley region of the country. It first appeared in recorded history in the 1840's. This type of music was attacked by the moral people of the country. Because of the sensual movements of the dance and the same type of lyrics that accompanied the music. Legend says that it was called Perico Ripiao (which means Ripped or Plucked Parrot) after a brothel where the music was played originally. The moral minority lost in their efforts and Perico Ripiao became more popular and it still is today.
The music is normally played with 3 main instruments. The güira which is a metal musical instrument said to have originally came from the Taíno Indians.They called it a güira and it was originally made from a gourd. It is also called guayos (graters) because of its resemblance to a food grater. It is played with a fork like scraper. The Tambora, which is a two-headed drum of African origin, is normally played with a stick. The third instrument, the accordion, said to come from trade with the Germans for tobacco, is also played. Now most groups have left changed from the 3 man groups to a 5 man bands, having added the saxophone and bass guitar.