Title: Venezuelan Folk for CARIFESTA
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00094167/00001
 Material Information
Title: Venezuelan Folk for CARIFESTA
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Hunter, Oliver
Publisher: CARIFESTA
Publication Date: 1972
Copyright Date: 1972
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00094167
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text


Oliver Hunter

The task of presenting, at a few CARIFESTA shows, all the richness

and beauty of a country's culture that has evolved over thousands of

years and involves many peoples, is one that no doubt borders on the


Our neighbours the Venezuelans, knowing only too well that their

varied culture could not even be portrayed in a thousand nights of

CARIFESTA decided to solve the enigma by highlighting the folk,

Strange festivals and folk rhythms dominate the Venezuelan

cultural scene .., folk reflecting a blending of peoples ... Block,

White, Indian, New World and pre-Colombian ... festivals blending strange

religions and a colourful history both as enchanting as their Orinoco,

rushing from the Andes for 1,700 miles or their Angel falls which

sports with wind and sky for 3,212 feet.

Venezuela the people, the land reflects much contrast. On one

hand are the devils regions like the Desert of Coro, which is so dry

and hot at 1060F, that nothing ever lives; and on the other hand there

are regions so cold that snow falls throughout the year ... yet the

spirit of the Venezuelan folk is woven around these physical contrasts

of the land.

Within its borders are the Guiocas a strange primitive people,.,

some say the most primitive in the entire Americas. Images of these

white-skinned people with red faces living deep in the Venezuelan

jungles float in mirage-like fashion on the countryts cultural horizon.

There are also peculiar communities in Venezuela like the Trover

Colony where one feels end breathes Germany. Everything is so German -

the language, customs, the songs, the dances... and they have been

so for the past 120 years. Even this peculiar German culture of the

Trovar people is part of the country's folk scene. The contrast con

be seen everywhere. Indeed the country's culture was conceived, took

shape, had its birth and grew into full csnhood within the singular

influence of the contrast, _____ 2/

tIn Comrrnurer

S2 -

It is this rich and varied culture that will be presented at

CARIFESTA through the medium of the arts literature, poetry and prose,

paintings, sculpture and photographs telling tales of the "Land and its

Peoples"; but it is mainly through the folk arts taking the form of the

famous Madrigalistas de Aragua Folk Choir that one would get the full

meanings of the Venezuelan spirit,

The Madrigalistas will present this culture in a form that is

uniquely Venezuelan. They will capture the ceremony, colour and gay

spontaneity of their many festivals -Madri-Gras, the gay bacchanal;

more sacred St. Peter's Parrana in Guitare or San Juan in Miranda State;

and the Procession of the Virgin in Santa Cruz,

Or even the spectacle on Corpus Christi Thursday at San Francisco de

Yare when the Devil Dancers come out by their thousands in colour and

grotesque costumes and dance non-stop for a whole ddy.

ALL Venezuelan festivals reflect the folk.They incorporate the

rythmic forms of the African, the glories of the Spanish Kingdoms, a bit

of German, touches of the Scar.dnvicnn and the indigenous people with

pre-Colombian heritage.

Even the coming of Christopher Colombus to Venezuela is ocnes-

ion for folk festivity. For every year at a precise time the same

month, day, and hour and place at Macuto the Nina, Pinto and Santa Marin

still arrive in splendour and dazzling pageantry just as it did 500 years

ago- only now the people that receive the winged canoes are not the

indigenous indians Caribs, Aroucos, Googi, Goojiras, Betoyes and Timotes -

but their offspring many of whom have now been mixed with nearly every

blood under the sun and represent acr, of the many shades of the New

World Man.

The Madrigalistas aim at presenting all the beauty of the people

whether they live in the City, in little communities in the dense jungles,

up the Orinoco, by the foot of the Andes or on the savannah.


This predominance of the folk aspect is in keeping with the whole aim

of CARIFESTA, which is to bring about a greater understanding among the

peoples of the Caribbean and Latin America ... their song and dance, lore

and legend, beliefs and fears, love and aspirations.

It is said that the Madrigalistos de Aragua Folk Choir is the living

embodiment of the Venezuelan folk scene.

They will tell of a hardy breed of people who live in the North

East of Venezuela, away from the towering Andes, midst rolling llanos

(savannah lands) ... a rugged breed that ride their horses, graze their

cattle by day and sing strange songs to the hinterland night.

The people caU them Lianeros; like Guyana's almost legendary

pork-knockers the Llaneres are folk heroes. The songs they sing are sung

all over the land ..... songs which tell of a fierce lova for the savage

but beautiful Venezuelan heartland..... songs which tell of a love for the

thousands of rivers and lagoons filled with strange fish and giant electric

eels that con kill a bull with a gentle touch and ferocious caribe fish

that can reduce a men to a skeleton within seconds.

Their songs tell of love for the llanos with Turpiales the

national bird with yellow black and white plumage end wild ducks that

travel 7,000 miles to escape the arctic winter. The Llaneros love the

heartland, and their folk songs reflect with a glowing passion the very

soul of the heartland landscape.

There is no festival in Venezuela in which the folk songs of the

Llaneros are not heard. Even Jorope, the countryts national dance and

other dances like San Benito, Carite and Gaita Zuliana are done to the

rhythms of the Llaneros with cautro, local harp and maracas accompaniment.

Like the national flower, Lavender Orchid (Flor de Mayo) which blooms

in May and dominates the Venezuelan floral scene so does the folk rhythms

of the Llaneros dominate the Venezuelan cultural scene.


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All the peoples of Venezuela like those in the other parts of Latin

America and the Caribbean have been moulded by their environment, and as

such their folk reflect this environment.

In Trinidad we see it in the steelband; in Guyana, it is "The Legend

of Kaieteur" emerging out of the mysteries of the ancient wonder; and the

porkknockers shanties telling of their struggles with treacherous falls.

In Venezuela it is the Llaneros and their folk that reflect the

Llanos and the Andes and the Angel falls found in 1935 by a rugged

American aviator when looking for the Golden City of El Dorado.

One aim of CARIFESTA, is to carve out in artistic fashion the beauties

of the Caribbean and Latin American environment ... to make people become

more aware of this enwirznmentiand its peoples,

Venezuela will portray their cultural environment through the

medium of art, literature, photography and the folk, But it is the folk

presented by the inimitable Modrigolistas de Aragua that will prevail at

CARIFESTA. The folk the people will highlight the CARIFESTA scene.

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