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ABOUT

MIRO FRANCISCO

He was one of the greatest musicians to have graced típico merengue. He was born in 1926 in the community of Rancho Viejo, which belonged to the municipality of Altamira at that time, now part of the Guananico municipality.

He began his musical career in the late 1940s as an accordionist alongside his brother Fello, another great accordionist. As an accordion musician, he was influenced by Matoncito Mezquita, Prieto Tomás, and Polito Martínez. For many years, they maintained the ensemble (Los Hermanos Francisco), achieving a certain prominence throughout the province of Puerto Plata.

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Miro told me that in 1965 he decided to take up the saxophone because they often had difficulty finding a saxophonist. For this task, he commissioned a saxophone from Marcos Batista, who frequently traveled to the capital. Once the instrument arrived, he went to Imbert where Maestro Dámaso Mercado taught him the basics of the saxophone. From there, the rest is history.

His fame as a saxophonist became extraordinary. He was notably influenced by Antonio Lora, Pedro el Cacú, and Dámaso Mercado. He taught me many tunes that are still unknown. The legend of this talented man grew when he joined Tatico Henríquez’s ensemble, with whom he recorded several songs that are now part of the national folklore, such as “El Lío,” “Joaquín García,” “La Mecedora,” “Los Suárez,” “Rosimari” (a duet with Danny), “Mangulina Quisqueyana,” “El Mango,” and others. For a long time, he worked with Bartolo Alvarado, Paquito Bonilla, and Diógenes Jiménez. In 1977, he and Juan Balbuena formed a group with the young Rafaelito Román, and they scored a hit with the song “Moreno Tejada.” They also recorded a tribute to Juan Jaquez (a duet with Felix Díaz).

He was a teacher to many musicians during their development, including Facundo Peña, María Díaz, Mery Hernández, Emilio “El Baby,” Roberto Liriano, Tato Martínez, Jiménez Ortiz, Pojo, and Lidia de la Rosa, among others. His house was a gathering place for musicians every day. Some stayed for weeks, and he and his wife Valeriana helped everyone without asking for anything in return.

“Strum it, Miro, burn it, Miro Francisco. Fire it up, Miro… What a pair, Miro and Danny. Closing, Miro. Felix and Miro paired up… Wepa, Miro is in. These are phrases that resonate anywhere in the world where típico merengue is heard.

He regularly played with Monguito Román at Long Beach in Puerto Plata. He also formed a group with his son Raffy, producing a record where there was a merengue with saxophone, accordion, tambora, and güira. The legendary típico saxophonist José “El Calvo” participated in this production.

Don Miro Francisco passed away on November 14, 1998, in the municipality of Guananico. His powerful vibrato (purríao), wide sound, and strong staccatos will never die, as his name and contributions belong to the realm of the immortals.