Berklee Summer Concert SeriesMilly Quezada
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Milly Quezada, better known internationally as "the Queen of Merengue," was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Her parents and four siblings immigrated to New York during the early '70s, where she graduated from City College of New York with a degree in communications and mass media.
Quezada's musical inclinations manifested in the streets of her community, Washington Heights, and she, along with her siblings and soon-to-be husband Rafael Vásquez, formed the group Milly Jocelyn and Los Vecinos in 1975. The group during the '70s and '80s made musical history with international hits such as "La Guacherna," "Volvio Juanita," and "Tengo." Los Vecinos's unique style—female vocalists performing the male-dominated rhythm of merengue—earned the band a rightful place in Dominican Republic's musical history.
The elegance and style of its stage performances took Los Vecinos on a worldwide tour that made the act a "first" on many levels. The band was the first in performing live merengue in Tokyo in 1990 and 1992, and the first Dominican orchestra to perform in a United States inaugural gala—that of George Bush in 1990.
The passing away in 1996 of her husband, producer, and orchestra manager Vásquez marked the turning point of Quezada's life. Her solo career has produced multiple career achievements and recognitions both nationally and internationally. Her impressive discography includes 28 productions recorded under various labels.
Quezada's 2006 Best Merengue Album Latin Grammy Award for MQ heads an impressive list of awards. She has received multiple Casandra Awards, including the most-coveted Soberano Award—the highest category in this Dominican annual event that honors its own. Other awards include the 2003 Latin Grammy Award for her album Pienso Asi; multiple Billboard and Premio Lo Nuestro awards from Univision; ACE and Globo awards in New York; and a special recognition from the senate of Puerto Rico for more than two decades of distinguished musical accomplishments in La Isla del Encanto. The New York City mayor's office dedicated November 8 as Milly Quezada Day in honor of her major contributions to the Latin music industry.
The Milly Quezada concert is hosted by Mayor Thomas M. Menino.