Venezuelans Have ‘Parranda’ in NYC with Singer Betsayda Machado| 18 January, 2017
Machado and her group, coming off of a standing-room-only debut at a sold-out globalFEST on Jan. 7, performed at Joe’s Pub on Jan. 12 to another sold out venue that was packed with what seemed to be an audience that was 95 percent Venezuelan. The show was a true party
Born in the community of El Clavo, Barlovento (population 1500), Machado is the carrier of a long tradition of nearly extinguished Afro-Venezuelan music characterized by call and repeat singing and thunderous tambores. Though Machado has been singing this music since she was five-years-old, it was film producer Juan Souki who brought her infectious voice and smile to the public outside of El Clavo.
After doing some project work with Machado, Souki embarked on a field trip to discover the source of her powerful pipes, and he describes his 60-minute bus trip to her tiny hometown village as time travel. There, he discovered the rich sounds of its former cacao field-working descendants, capturing songs and beats never before heard outside of the area. This sound is typified by El Clavo’s resident band, La Parranda El Clavo, which began decades ago as a joyful, unstructured jam group, and has matured into a virtuosic percussion and voice ensemble. The music’s raw percussive nature is reminiscent of other African-rooted music – from countries like Colombia, Cuba and Brazil – but was born of its own unique history and culture.
Currently, Souki is helping Machado and the group in record an album.
Though Machado has toured parts of the United States in the past as a supporting singer with another band, this is the first time she brings the music of her tiny hometown to the masses.
Watch Betsayda Machado y la Parranda el Clavo perform (footage from Canada last summer), and follow the band on Facebook.
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