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El Niágara en Bicicleta

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Title: El Niágara en Bicicleta  
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Subject: Juan Luis Guerra, No Me Ames, Latin Grammy Award for Song of the Year, Ni es lo mismo ni es igual, Latin Grammy Awards of 2000
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

El Niágara en Bicicleta

"El Niágara en Bicicleta"
Single by Juan Luis Guerra y 4-40
from the album Ni Es Lo Mismo Ni Es Igual
Released May 1999
Format Airplay
Genre Merengue
Length 4:25
Writer(s) Juan Luis Guerra
Producer Juan Luis Guerra
Juan Luis Guerra y 4-40 singles chronology

"Palomita Blanca"
"El Niagara en Bicicleta"
"La Hormiguita"

"El Niágara en Bicicleta" (English: Niagara Falls by Bicycle, literally Niagara Falls on a Bicycle) is a song written and performed by Dominican singer-songwriter Juan Luis Guerra and his backup vocal group, 4-40. The track was released as the third single released from his eighth studio album, Ni Es Lo Mismo Ni Es Igual which Guerra produced by himself.[1] The single became a success on the Top Latin Songs and Latin Tropical Airplay chart where it peaked #2.[2] It was the best-performing Latin Tropical Airplay song of 1999.[3]

Song Information

Juan Luis Guerra "El Niágara en Bicicleta" (1998)
24 second sample from Juan Luis Guerra's "El Niágara en Bicicleta".

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The phrase "[pasar] el Niágara en bicicleta" (English: to ride a bicycle across Niagara Falls) is a Dominican idiom used to describe overcoming a difficult situation.[4] In the song, Guerra uses the term to describe the near impossibility of obtaining medical treatment in a developing country. He has been known to compose political songs that reflect on the current situation in his country.[5] In writing the song, Guerra stated that he was inspired by "a pressing problem with public health services in my country.[6] The song was based on the experience on a hospital trip he took for his high bilirubin and criticized the lack of equipment that was either broken or unavailable.[7]

Music video

The music video was directed by Venezuelan-American JC Barros and was filmed in Santo Domingo and Miami, Florida over two days.[8] As with the song, the music video takes place in a hospital after a person had an accident on a bicycle. Due to a lack of supplies however, the person is asked to wait for his turn in a long line of people.[9]

Chart performance

"El Niágara en Bicicleta" debuted at #39 where it climbed to #5 on the week of May 8, 1999.[10] The song then peaked #2 on the Top Latin Songs on the week of May 29, 1999 for which was being held off by Ricky Martin's song Livin' La Vida Loca.[11]


Chart (1999) Peak
US Latin Songs (Billboard)[12] 2
US Latin Pop Songs (Billboard)[13] 4
US Tropical Songs (Billboard)[14] 2


On the review of the album, Evan Gutierrez described "El Niágara en Bicicleta" as "irresistibly singable".[15] David Wilson of Wilson & Alroy's called the song "an interesting merengue-rap".[16] On an editorial review of the album, Fernando Gonzalez of called the song the highlight of disc describing it as "Guerra at his very best".[17] In 2000, the song received a Latin Grammy Award for "Best Tropical Song" as well as a Latin Grammy Award nomination for "Song of the Year".[18][19] The song also received a Latin Billboard Music Award for "Tropical/Salsa Track of the Year".[20]


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