Ernestidio Rodríguez

Ernestidio Rodríguez was born in a small town in the Cibao region of the Dominican Republic, El Cupey de Puerto Plata. He comes from a musical family: his father was an accordionist and his many cousins include accordionists Rafaelito Polanco and David David as well as the singer with top típico musician El Prodigio. However, at age six Rodríguez was sent to live with a tyrannical godfather in La Gotera in order to care for his horses and cows and look after a bodega. Though his father brought Ernestidio an accordion as a gift for his ninth birthday, he was not allowed to play it for months. When he finally was able to use the instrument for half an hour, he immediately played his first merengue, Cuca (an old song recently re-popularized by Tulile). At age 15, Ernestidio was finally free and he began to learn to play merengue típico and to tune and repair accordions, a job his father and brother also held. At 18, just after the fall of dictator Trujillo, he moved to the capital city where he met and became friends with Tatico Henríquez, considered the godfather of modern merengue típico. Rodríguez’s friendship with the great accordionist was immortalized in an Henríquez merengue called Arriba Santo Domingo. In 1990, Rodríguez arrived in Brooklyn via Mexico and has lived in East New York ever since. He is a fixture in the neighborhood, performing frequently at popular restaurants in Brooklyn and neighboring Woodhaven, Queens, and repairing and tuning accordions for típico musicians from all parts of the city.

CONTACT ERNESTIDIO (Spanish only): 718-964-0189.

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