Fefita la Grande
Born Manuela Josefa Cabrera (born September 18, 1944) and known as Fefita la Grande "'La Vieja Fefa'" or La Mayimba, she is the most prolific and respected female merengue accordionist of the Dominican Republic. She is also one of the most well-known representatives of the Perico Ripiao or Merengue tipico music genre, along with artists like Tatico Henriquez, Pedro Reynoso, El Ciego de Nagua, El Prodigio, Rafaelito and Raul Roman, Geovanny Polanco, Francisco Ulloa, and others.
"Fefa", as referred to by her closest friends and relatives, was born in San Ignacio de Sabaneta, Santiago Rodríguez, located in the Cibao Region of the Dominican Republic, the birthplace of the merengue and where almost all merengue tipico musicians hail from. Fefita taught herself accordion on her father's squeezebox, and was already playing concerts for people as respected as Petan Trujillo (Dictator Rafael Trujillo's brother), and appearing frequently on television and radio shows, as early as the age of 9.
Innovations and Style
Cabrera had a unique style of playing merengue tipico, a kind that only she was able to produce. Along with the early exponents of "new" merengue tipico, such as Tatico Henriquez, Samuelito Almonte, and El Ciego de Nagua, she added congas, saxophones, and electric bass to the tipico ensemble, which was originally composed of three musicians: an accordionist (using a diatonic 2-row accordion), a tambora player ("tamborero"), and güira player ("guirero"). La Mayimba was also the first to bring merengue tipico to European audiences.
La Mayimba's success is also partially achieved because of her ability to stay with the times and constantly reinvent her sound with the help of new tipico artists. Performing with the likes of Krisspy and El Prodigio, she continues to appeal to the young.
- La Ciudad Corazón (2001)
- Date Brillo Cadenita (1999)
- Yo Sigo Pa' Lante (1995)
- Todos los Hombres Son Buenos (1994)
- Cantando He de Morir (1991)
- Vámonos Pa'l Can (1990)
- Fefita la Grande (1981)
- La Pimienta es la Que Pica (1980)
- Merengues Típicos Vol. 1 (1979)