Music for the soul. Always live!
El Ciego de Nagua
Pereira González Alvarado, "El Ciego de Nagua", was born on January 10 1947 in the Dominican town of La Jaguita, Cabrera (in the North Western region of the Dominican Republic). One of 10 brothers and sisters of a modest farming family, he was born without sight. His parents encouraged his interest in music from a young age - perhaps because music was one of the only professions open to someone with his handicap. Bartolo, as he was called, first took up the tambora drum. He was soon earning a few pesos playing with a travelling magic show. He next took up the harmonica - called a mouth accordion in the Dominican Republic where the harmonica is sometimes used as an inexpensive substitute to the real accordion. Finally at around 7 or 8 years of age he began training on a real accordion. At age 9, he was invited to perform live on La Voz Dominican, a popular radio talent show run by Petran Trujillo, the dictator Rafal Trujillo's brother. Now known around his home region as a child prodigy, he formed a merengue tipico (accordion merengue) group with his father on guira. They performed at parties and functions around La Jaguita.
The big break in Bartolo's career came in 1966, when Radio Nagua, a large regional station, invited him to do a weekly live show. For two hours every sunday, El Ciego de Nagua and his band were broadcast throughout the region. He soon landed a record deal. His first hit was "Maria". Coincidentally, he later married a Maria but didn't know her at the time. His biggest hit came in 1973 with an interpretation of "La Luz" (also known as "El Fua") by Puerto Rican composer Alfonso Vélez. This established him as one of the most popular Merengue Tipico artists in the Dominican Republic. He still performs both locally in the Dominican Republic and internationally.