The Voice of Venezuela: Betsayda Machado y La Parrando El Clavo
“The kind of group that world-music fans have always been thrilled to discover: vital, accomplished, local, unplugged, deeply rooted” — Jon Pareles - The New York Times
La Parranda El Clavo and their clarion-voiced leader Betsayda Machado have inspired international acclaim for the exuberant sounds of their Afro-Venezuelan heritage. A style of community music called parranda (which also means "party" - a popular word throughout Spanish-language speaking countries) springs from joyous celebrations where musicians stroll through town singing poems that comment on daily life, set to the pulse of drums made from the lano tree, an iconic tree from the region.
Betsayda Machado and La Parranda El Clavo, master exponents of parranda music, build their rhythmic, danceable poetry on waves of shimmering vocals and body and spirit-rousing percussion. The music they create preserves the tambor genre - said to make dancers float - which amalgamates a dozen musical sub-genres, almost all on the path to extinction.
Betsayda Machado and her siblings grew up at the center of the parranda: her father, Pedro, was a noted trumpet player, and the Machado house was the parranderos’ home base. Betsayda left El Clavo for Venezuela’sf capital city, Caracas, at age 18, building a career, and becoming one of the nation’s best-loved singers. She is celebrated today across Venezuela as “the Black Voice of Barlovento,” carrier of a tradition of community music-making that she first participated in as a child.
The 8-member group, comprised of a close-knit group of friends and family (including Betsayda’s sister, Nereida, and three other family groupings), is exploring the history of their town and their music: this year they are taking DNA tests and planning a tour of their ancestral points of origin in Africa. They are also harnessing global interest in their story and their music to develop sustainability projects for El Clavo and other villages in Barlovento, building a vibrant future out of the power of their cultural legacy.
FRI APR 6 | 8PM | $18, $15 Members (+$3 at the door)
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