From drumming with its roots in Africa, to Spanish-influenced guitar and harp music and the indigenous contribution of maracas, Venezuelan music is largely unknown outside the country.
With a blog based on videos of key groups and individuals I hope this music will reach a wider public and get the attention it deserves.
Joropo, calypso, tambores, salsa, cumbia, pop, rock, Latin jazz, electronica - even slushy love songs by soap opera stars - Venezuela has it all.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Dudamel and SBSO play Mahler at 2011 Proms
Such is the fame of the Venezuelan classical music conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra that when tickets went on sale in May for their 5 August appearance at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall they sold out in three hours. After setting the Proms alight four years ago with an impassioned performance of Venezuela's unofficial anthem Alma Llanera the orchestra showed a subtler side to their talents this time by taking on Mahler's Second Symphony, "Resurrection". But the audience reaction to the orchestra's Mahler was equally ecstatic with a 15-minute standing ovation for the Venezuelan musicians. "The capacity crowd, I should say, cheered and cheered and didn’t want the Venezuelans to leave. Who knows, maybe they’re still there, dancing the mambo; I had to retreat to write this review," noted Geoff Brown of the Arts Desk, an online reviews website. Peter Reed of the Classical Music website was equally rapturous in his review: "With an orchestra of 170 (plus the 12-strong off-stage band), the quality of the playing – its freshness, maturity, clarity, attack and responsiveness – was thrilling, with any number of solos to make you go weak at the knees in admiration for the way these musicians were so inside Mahler’s soundworld, with playing so soft as to become almost a figment of aural imagination, and with the sell-out audience so quiet that a pin, let alone a mobile phone chirrup (save in the second movement), would have sounded like an explosion." Writing in the Guardian newspaper, music critic Guy Dammann highlighted Dudamel's continuing influence on the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra and the special relationship between the two: "At the centre of this whirlwind, of course, was Dudamel, whose talents grew with this orchestra, were honed by the Gothenburg Symphony, and are being tested by the LA Phil. But his relationship with the Bolivars is special. Conducting from memory and less concerned with pushing boundaries in interpretation than with simply getting the best out of his players, he inhabits both score and orchestra, offering a seamless conduit between the two."