Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music



(b Isidro Valladares, 14 Aug. '16, San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic) Singer, bandleader, composer, arranger, Latin percussionist, guitarist; a pioneer of merengue in USA, known as the 'King of the Merengue'. Joined NYC's then tiny Dominican community '36; began career '39, toured US with various rumba groups; served in US Army during WWII, resumed career after '45 discharge; worked with orchestras of Xavier Cugat, Noro Morales, Anselmo Sacasas, José Curbelo, Enric Madriguera, trumpeter Roger King Mozian (composer of Machito standard 'Asia Minor'), others. He joined the band of Puerto Rican guitarist/singer Juanito Sanabria '50, which had a lengthy residency at Havana Madrid night club on Broadway and performed at annual NY Daily News Harvest Moon Balls. Dioris started to sing three merengues with Sanabria at Club Caborrojeña in upper Broadway, so popular the band had to play them several times a night; the club became a gathering point for Dominicans in NYC. Meanwhile merengue recordings by a group organized by Ansonia Records boss Rafael Pérez (b Yauco, Puerto Rico; d '69, New Jersey, USA; founded Ansonia June '49) had flopped in NYC; hearing of Sanabria's success at Caborrojeña, Pérez signed the group for a session; of the four sides recorded, 'La Amaneca' and 'La Moña' were hits in NYC and PR; a further twelve merengues recorded by Sanabria on Ansonia were also successful. Pérez organized the seven-piece accordion/sax-led Conjunto Típico Cibaeño (El Cibao is believed to be the region of DR where merengue originated), signing up Dioris as lead singer/güiro player and Dominican Angel Viloria as director/accordionist; their recordings took off in NYC's and other large US Latin communities, Caribbean, South and Central America. By '52 Típico Cibaeño's success had paved the way for various other merengue aggregations, their early '50s hits collected on three volumes of Angel Viloria y su Conjunto Típico Cibaeño on Ansonia. Típico Cibaeño folded when alto saxist Rámon García, tambora player Luis Quintero (both Dominican), Viloria and Dioris formed their own bands '53; Dioris's band did a two year residency at Gloria Palace in NYC's Germantown section, where audiences included German tourists; his fame as a leader quickly spread to US Latin communities and he became a big seller in South America; made two vols of Dioris Valladares y su Conjunto on Ansonia. He signed with Alegre '61 at height of the pachanga craze; debut LP Vete Pa'l Colegio '61 included a hit pachanga title track with music penned by Roger King Mozian and words by Alegre founder Al Santiago (also the producer), who later explained: ' ''Vete Pa'l Colegio'' is a play on words meaning go to hell. Hell, in English, is not a very bad word. But in Spanish when you say the word hell, it really is terrible. The humour helped sell that record' (quote from Salsiology '92 by Vernon W. Boggs). Pachanga title track of his Alegre follow-up Yo La Vi Vol. II '63, produced by Santiago, was another hit; he also took part in historic jazz-oriented Latin jam session (descarga) recordings of the Alegre All-Stars '61-6. He switched to Musicor for Con Pimienta '68 (reissued on Artol) produced by the label's A&R and staff producer Santiago; it included boogaloo material to conform with the fad at the time. He participated in notable albums by the Cesta All-Stars: Live Jam Session late '60s and Salsa Festival early '70s. Pa 'Bailar Na' Ma '77 on Alegre reunited him with Santiago, who not only produced but also wrote and played piano on descarga 'Minor Minor'. Dioris semi-retired to Long Island.