Masterminded by Raul Acosta (best-known for his work with Oro Solido), Manikkomio is as notable for its visual gimmick as for its blend of merengue and club-ready house: each vocalist always performs wearing a Friday the 13th-style hockey mask (in keeping with the group's name). Acosta assembled the group in his native Dominican Republic in 1997, hiring a posse of well-built young men to handle vocals: Orlando, Luis Rafael, Eric, Tito, and Joel. The group's self-titled debut was released in 1998, producing the club hits "Piensa en Mi" and "El Kolmo." The 1999 follow-up, Manikkomio International, was a bit more consistent, and produced the group's biggest hit yet in "Lokko Enamorado." A label switch from Sonolux to Platano preceded the release of the group's third album, Manikkomio 2001 (subtitled "There Baaaack!" [sic]); it produced hits in "Ya Tu Sabes" and "La Jonronera." ~ Steve Huey
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