Smithsonian Folkways will release '¡Parranda! Venezuelan Carnival Music' by the group La Sardina de Naiguatá (The Sardine of Naiguatá) on June 19. The collection, part of Smithsonian Folkways' "Tradiciones/Traditions" series, is the definitive statement from this pioneering 13-piece band led by visionary Ricardo Díaz. Díaz has pursued a 27-year quest to fuse traditional Venezuelan parranda music with more diverse and progressive instrumentation and has revolutionized and reinvigorated the genre.
Listen to "Bandido": http://snd.sc/Ic7o54
Listen to "Volveré": http://snd.sc/Ic7nxX
Watch a mini-documentary on La Sardina de Naiguatá: http://youtu.be/j-evG_OZZC0
Díaz says in the past parranda had little sonority: "It was the traditional instruments, the cuatro (small guitar), furruco (friction drum), a little drum, and güira (gourd rasp), but it lacked strength; it was not heard. Our parranda uses electronic instruments that were not traditionally used before."
The instruments of La Sardina de Naiguatá include a trumpet, two trombones, and a keyboard -- together these simulate the sounds of the tres, bass, snare drum, grandadero, congas, güira, and bell. The group's musicality is also distinct from its predecessors' in its fluid improvisation and joyous choruses.
The name La Sardina de Naiguatá (The Sardine of Naiguatá) is derived from the customary Burial of the Sardine, which occurs after Carnival. In the Venezuelan town of Naiguatá, the Burial of the Sardine is a great procession wherein people play widows, doctors, nurses, priests, and other characters linked to a central theme often associated with current events.
Díaz explains the tradition: "A platform is made to carry La Sardina (the sardine) which is walked around the town. At the end of the day it is buried by tossing it into the sea." Music plays an important role in the celebration, and La Sardina de Naiguatá provides the live soundtrack for the street parades.
La Sardina de Naiguatá will perform a free concert on June 29 at 7:30 pm at the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The performance is a co-headline event with fellow Smithsonian Folkways artists Quetzal (Latin rock from East Los Angeles). This will be the group's 2nd appearance in the United States, and first trip to the U.S. in 25 years.
Current tour dates (more to be announced):
6/29 - Washington, DC Smithsonian Folklife Festival
7/5 - Washington, DC Embassy of Venezuela
7/8 - San Francisco, CA Yerba Buena Gardens Festival
7/11 - Chicago, IL Old Town School of Folk Music
7/13 - Chicago, IL Old Town School of Folk Music
'¡Parranda! Venezuelan Carnival Music' is the 37th release in the Smithsonian Folkways "Tradiciones/Traditions" series since 2002. The series, a co-production with the Smithsonian Latino Center, showcases the diverse musical heritage of the 50 million Latinos living in the USA.
More information available at http://folkways.si.edu