Loé Loá

02/08/2019First-Time Vinyl Release Of Betsayda Machado & La Parranda El Clavo's Rural, Afro-Venezuelan Recordings

We doubt you'd disagree, when we say that Betsayda Machado is quite literally the life of the party or Parrando, a traditional Venezuelan genre. In fact, she is widely considered "the voice of Venezuela." Hailing from the small town of El Clavo in the Barlovento province, Betsayda was practically raised by the local percussion and voice ensemble La Parranda El Clavo, whom she still plays with to this day.

"For nearly 30 years they've performed at town festivities, funerals and celebrations, preserving the style of Tambor, a cultural legacy of African slaves brought to work in the cocoa plantations." After having relocated to the capital city of Caracas in her early twenties, Betsayda returned to her small hometown in 2016 along with her producer and recorded a couple of sessions with La Parranda. 

The result of which appeared on CD/digitally in 2017 and gathered momentum as the group toured North America. A few weeks ago, Olindo Records released "Loé Loá – Rural Recordings Under the Mango Tree" on vinyl for the very first time and it is one great listen. Betsayda's remarkable voice takes the lead as La Parranda joins in to deliver "a spirit-shaking percussion and voice fiesta" rooted in Afro-Venezuelan traditions, spiritual, nostalgic and thoroughly yet positively haunting.

"However, not every song is about joy and celebration as the band often sing about many of the most painful topics of daily life in Venezuela, as prevalent in 2019 as they were in 2017 when originally released: hunger, poverty, and shortages of basic medicine," the Bandcamp liner notes read. 

You can stream/buy the full release here or watch their 14-minute appearance on NPR's Tiny Desk series below. 

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom