Venezuela: The Essence of African Music in Videos

Venezuela’s African origins can be strongly felt in the music and culture of the country’s coastal regions. The tradition is great and takes on many forms. As such, with each beating of the Venezuelan drum there is a connection with the coast, the beach, the santería, their celebrations and dances. The different forms of expression vary greatly with each having its own characteristics.

Social networking websites play an important role in helping people to become more familiar with the drum festivals. Citizen media sites, particularly YouTube, feature videos of the music and dancing performed during events such as family parties, national celebrations or weekends on the beach. Here are some examples:

In the video titled ‘Afro-Venezuelans’, unique5589 explains the origins of some of the African influences in Latin America – one of the main themes of this YouTube channel.

There are many occasions throughout the year where you can hear this type of music being played in various different ways. The instruments and the style of dance can change according to each region. Watching a few videos on YouTube would be a good start in getting to know the vast world of Afro-Venezuelan music. The videos enable you to experience the most deeply-rooted and profound customs of the mestizo culture in Venezuela.

A deeper search among citizen media websites will produce a vast amount of videos recording the different types of musical expression. The following videos show regional differences in dances, rhythms and the types of drum that are used:

Drums from the central northern region of Aragua, shared by malajunta:

7 Chimbagueles; a particular type of drum that is played whilst seated to celebrate the feastday of Saint Benedict, shared by Adrián Herrera

Drums from Naiguata, a northern coastal village, shared by Genuinos Venezolanos:

Calypso drums from the Antilles Islands. The video shared by Jameg556 [es] explains the history of these instruments and presents examples of the rhythms that can be produced:

Finally, the Venezuelan Christmas tradition: the bass drum – the sound you are most likely to hear during the celebrations in December. Originally from the west of the country, the rhythms can be heard across the country during the Christmas period. In the video shared by Fools942, you can clearly see the uses of this type of bass drum.

The image “Tambores de Curiepe” from Flickr user danielito311 is used under licence Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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