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|Minas and redondos accompany
the dances; in line or circle form, in the case of the minas,
or, in the case of the redondos, performed by a couple,
with members of the audience stepping in to take the place of
the male or female in alternation.
indigenous Venezuelans typically use a single maraca to
accompany their songs, popular music normally makes use of a
pair, each one with its own pitch. Venezuelan maracas are unlike
the kind often used in the U.S., which derive from Cuba and
Puerto Rico; they are smaller, with a softer sound. While a
typical rhythmic triplet for Caribbean maracas places the accent
at the end—one/two/THREE—, the counterpart for Venezuelan
maracas inverts the accent—ONE/two/three.
|Venezuela is known for its own
salsa, merengue and other imported styles, as well as the distinct
joropo and llanero music. Salsa, while originally
imported, has produced the global superstar,
|The music varies from a region to
another. The joropo is a form of traditional Venezuelan music. It
is performed in the whole country and it possesses its own
attributes according to the region: joropo llanero,
and oriental. The meringue is found in Caracas, Lara and Cumaná. The
central fulía is in Miranda, Federal District and Aragua; the oriental
fulía in Anzoátegui, Monagas, New Esparta and Sucre. The polka is in Lara,
Barinas, Sucre, Trujillo, Táchira, Hurry and Bolivar. The bambuco
Táchira, Merida, Trujillo, Lara, Zulia, Federal District and Vargas. The
furro bagpipe and tambora are in the Zulia. The calipso is in Bolivar. And
the tamunangue is in Lara.
|The national dance is
This genre from the plains is perhaps the
Venezuelan music known best outside the country is the joropo. A joropo can be an event at which the
music is performed, the music itself, or the dance that
accompanies it. Variants of it include corrido, galerón, golpe, and
pasaje. There is also the revuelta, which denotes an extended
version of a pasaje, although the terms are sometimes used to
refer to the same piece; and hornada, which refers to a medley
of revueltas or pasajes. The joropo is fast-paced and permits
polyrhythmic improvisation on the part of the performers. The
leading instrument is the arpa llanera, or plains harp,
accompanied by a cuatro and maracas. The singer, who carries the
melody in tandem with the harp, does not play an instrument
On the central coast, the joropo
ensemble is smaller, reduced to a harp or bandola and a singer
who plays maracas. The music, incorporating some of the African
tradition of the area, differs from the plains style in that
verses are shorter and more repetitive with more improvisation.
In the state of Lara, the golpe –a different kind of joropo— is
performed with an instrumentation that includes a cinco and a
tambora; or a violin or guitar and a large drum.
is originally from the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela heartily
supports local Latin pop acts like Billo's Caracas Boys, Porfi
Jiménez Orchestra and Los Melódicos. The Venezuelan merengue is different from its more famous counterpart, The Venezuelan
calypso, which reflects the closeness of Trinidad and Tobago and, beyond
them, the other Caribbean islands.
|Some Venezuelan Pop Musicians have
gained popularity in other Latin American countries besides Venezuela.
Such is the case of
Ricardo Montaner (very popular in Chile),
José Luis Rodríguez "El Puma" and Ilan Chester, to mention a few.
The vanguard of fusion artists combine
salsa and other forms of music from Latin America.
Originally a rural form of the
or plains, llanera spread to musically creative artists like
Juan Vicente Torrealba and
Ignacio Figueredo, who helped to popularize music through the
country , leading to a slick modern form of pop-llanera that has earned
scorn from purists and much of the younger Venezuelan listeners, who
perceive it as stale and watered-down. Some singers, like
Simón Díaz and
Reynaldo Armas, have maintained a huge following over the years. In a
similar vein, there is also is neo-folklore, which takes traditional
music and arranges it in an electronic style, for electronic
Indigenous Music & Other Styles
|Indigenous Musical styles are sort of a crucible of Venezuelan cultural
inheritances, most exemplified by groups like Un Solo Pueblo and Serenata Guayanesa. The national musical instrument is the cuatro. The
typical or representative musical styles are mainly from the llanos area
and its surroundings, such as Alma Llanera (by Pedro Elias Gutierrez and
Rafael Bolivar), Florentino y el Diablo (by Alberto Arvelo Torrealba),
Concierto en la llanura by Juan Vicente Torrealba and Caballo Viejo (by
Other forms of Venezuelan folk music
have achieved little or no popular acclaim, but are extensively recorded
and researched due to the work of
percussion (including multiple rhythms, such as
parranda) is perhaps the most well-documented subject, and has
produced groups like
Un Solo Pueblo,
Huracán de Fuego and
calypso music, imported from
Trinidad in the
immigrants arriving during a
rush, has its own distinctive rhythms and lyrical style.
Calypso de El Callao in Venezuela, the music has had major
stars, most famously including VH.
(music style) is also a popular style, played generally during
Christmas, and is typical of the Zulian region.
Pop music and rock are very popular
too, and several bands have had their rise and fall in the music scene.
Venezuelan rock has strong influences from Argentine bands, so their
style may be somewhat placed in the same category. However, most bands
incorporate caribbean rhythms, thus giving them unique characteristics.
Some well known bands are
Caramelos de Cianuro,
Los Amigos Invisibles, and the now extinct
Jazz, house and avant-garde have also
been popular, especially in Caracas.
There have also been
Classical composers. Among these,
Teresa Carreño (who was also a world-renowned pianist),
Eduardo Marturet (who is primarily an international conductor),
Federico Ruiz (who also works often with other genres), and
Vicente Emilio Sojo (particularly known for his contributions to
Venezuelan musicology and music education). The torch of Moleiro and
Sojo was picked up by several of their students, of which
Roberto Ruscitti stands out. Several of his compositions can be
heard at his
Other famous musicians include Edgar
Ojeda, Adrenalina Caribe,
Serenata Guayanesa and
Cheo Hurtado, as well as the group
Among the more popular
today’s folk and popular music are the guitar and the mandolin, with
their relatives, the cuatro and the bandola; the harp and violin; and,
along the Colombian border, the tiple. The bandola is similar to the
cuatro, but is shorter, often pear-shaped, and more percussive or
stronger-sounding due to the manner in which it is played, with a
Aldemaro Romero is a prolific
Venezuelan composer; he has created a wide range of music, such as
Caribbean, jazz, Venezuelan waltzes, and innovative symphonic works of great, which met with an astounding
creativity and style the challenge to modernize Venezuelan folk music.
Music of the
As in the U.S., the music of Christmas in Venezuela is not necessarily
religious, but may be simply celebratory of the holiday and the
successful completion of the year. Christmas carols are called
aguinaldos, and are commonly sung door-to-door in parrandas,
much as in Puerto Rico. The revelers expect to be received with drinks
or food, such as hallacas, a holiday specialty wrapped in a banana leaf.
is a music genre originated from the region of el Zulia and is very
popular during the Christmas season. It has grown to be a national
representation of the Venezuelan Christmas.
Internationally famous for
his salsa music. In Spanish, he is known as El Sonero
del Mundo ("the Salsa Singer of the World") or as El
Sonero Mayor ("the Great Salsa Singer"). His most famous
song is perhaps "Llorarás," which he recorded in 1975
with his group La Dimensión Latina.
|The all-time most successful
female singer is also the daughter of an Afro-Venezuelan
|The third and youngest child
of Patricia Hickey, a former opera singer and voice coach of
Irish American extraction, and Alfred Roy Carey (formerly Nuñez),
an aeronautical engineer of Afro-Venezuelan heritage. In
2000 the World Music Awards named Carey the best-selling female
artist of all time, and she has recorded the most U.S.
number-one singles for a female artist. In addition to her
commercial accomplishments, she is well-known for her melismatic
singing voice, vocal range, power, and technical ability.