Venezuelan Afro-Soul ‘Tambor’. A spirit-shaking percussion and voice celebration in an online preview of new work and conversation with the artist.

For Las Cantoras, Betsayda Machado and Oswaldo Lares co-curated a compilation of historical rural recordings by female singers from Lares’ archival collection. Looking at different regions in the country, the result will be a rarely seen digital compilation which includes liner notes, historical pictures, and context for each of the singers and their regions. Co-produced by Lares’s son Guillermo and Juan Souki as part of a digital residency and co-commission by The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi.

Between 1960 and 1980, Venezuelan architect and folklorist Oswaldo Lares recorded more than one thousand tracks of rural folk songs around Venezuela. He captured genres and singers rarely known outside their regions that would later become emblems of Venezuelan folk when Lares’ work was gradually released on vinyl. Today, Lares’ collection is safeguarded by a new generation within his family, led by his son Guillermo.

“The kind of group that world-music fans have always been thrilled to discover: Vital, accomplished, local, unplugged, deeply rooted”

Betsayda Machado and producer Juan Souki share a similar story. In 2017, Souki produced Machado’s first album as a set of rural recordings in collaboration with her village parranda: Parranda El Clavo. The album celebrated the parranda’s 30th anniversary and their first recording ever, capturing the group and the singer’s raw energy under one of the village’s trees. Named Loé Loá, rural recordings under the Mango tree, the album made the New York Times Best Albums of 2017 and propelled the group’s touring career in the Americas and Europe.

The piece to be premiered online with The Arts Center, will be a pre-release audio-video broadcast with the artists and research team including recorded audio and video as well as live commentary by the project leaders.

Betsayda Machado & La Parranda El Clavo


Betsayda Machado

Betsayda Machado is the voice of Venezuela. Raised in the small village of El Clavo in the region of Barlovento, her recent rural recordings with lifelong friends Parranda El Clavo brought new attention to Venezuelan Afro-Soul genre: ‘Tambor’. A spirit-shaking percussion and voice fiesta, said to make dancers float.
After their New York City debut at globalFEST in January 2017, New York Times’ Jon Pareles called Betsayda and Parranda: