VENEZUELAN FOLK FOR CARIFESTA
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 and 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 rsnhood within the singular
influence of the contrast. _____ .2/
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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.dtnnvicn and the indigenous people with
Even the coming of Christopher Colombus to Venezuela is occas-
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, Goojires, Betoyes and Timotes -
but their offspring many of whom have now been mixed with nearly every
blood under the sun and represent acr rof the many shades of the New
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, Lealiefs and fears, love and aspirations.
It is said that the Madrigalistas 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 caUL 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, Carito 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.