MTPR

Betsayda Machado's Music Is 'Vital, Accomplished, Local, Unplugged And Deeply-Rooted'

Jul 12, 2018

On their “Sabrosito Rico” tour in 2017, Venezuelan Afro-Soul tambor venezolano musicians Betsayda Machado y La Parranda El Clavo simultaneously mesmerized and energized audiences, including those at the 2017 Montana Folk Festival. Felix Contreras, host of NPR’s Alt.Latino, writes: “Watching Betsayda Machado y Parranda El Clavo perform is like peering back in time. The music's roots extend to the Venezuelan slave trade, and while the vocals are in Spanish and not an African dialect, the instruments the group plays date back more than 500 years."

Machado's contemporary solo singing career in Caracas is thriving, where she collaborates with well-known contemporary Venezuelan musicians. But her work with tambor music and La Parranda El Clavo, which formed thirty years ago in their home town of El Clavo (one of the region's towns established centuries ago by rebel Africans), has never taken a hiatus.

In 2017, La Parranda El Clavo released their first-ever recording, Loé Loá - Rural Recordings Under the Mango Tree. Purveyors of parranda - a style of sung poetry - have always transformed current events into song, so it's no suprise that Venezuela's economic and social crisis is reflected in the lyrics of the song, "Sentimiento:"

"Me dan ganas de llorar, cuando matan a la gente, en este bello país, y en mi pueblo inocente".

"I feel like crying, the way people are being killed, in this beautiful country, and in my innocent town."

(Broadcast: "Musician's Spotlight,"  7/12/18 and 10/4/18. Listen on the radio Thursdays, 7:30 p.m., or via podcast.)