After a season away from the stage because of the covid19 pandemic, the musical group Herencia Venezolana (Venezuelan Heritage) returned to Trinidadian Christmas scene with the rhythm of its parranda.
With the same base of musicians and some new members added, Herencia Venezolana launched its Christmas 2021 season with its first concert performance last weekend.
Last Saturday, the Queen's Hall, St Ann's, hosted the musical festival, Por Fin Parranda, which featured Herencia Venezolana as one of its acts.
Director and singer of Venezuelan Heritage Andreina Briceño Brown said: “It is always a great joy to go on stage, but this first concert on the stage of the Queen's Hall was not only a challenge, but one more blessing for the pages of our book. Many difficulties, emotions and above all great responsibilities now grow."
Parranda is a musical style different from the traditional Trinidadian parang, but with the same objective: to brighten up Christmas.
“Herencia Venezolana is a completely Venezuelan group, with refugee musicians and singers in TT who, despite their daily work, look for a little time to rehearse and prepare the best Christmas music,” she said.
Acoustic guitar, cuatro, maracas and the combination of drums from the Venezuelan coast such as the yembe and cumaco with the tambora of gaitas, make the style of the parranda different. Parranda, villancicos and gaitas, all traditional at Christmas in Venezuela, are some of the styles of its repertoire.
Founded in 2019 through La Casita of the Hispanic Cultural Centre of Arima, Herencia Venezolana became the only parranda group in TT formed by migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, with the aim of promoting settlement and integration between their communities through music.
Their rehearsals attracted local and foreign audiences and soon the name began to sound among the inhabitants of Arima.
The reopening of the country gave Herencia Venezolana a boost. It is now a member of the National Parang Association of TT, after being approved at the 2021 AGM.
"For the members of Herencia Venezolana, music is a means of distraction for both the group and its audience, who, given the difficulties presented by covid19, await the joy of their performances," said Briceño Brown.
The group is made up of Brown, Danny Chan, Winston Parra, Ángel Betancourt, Anthony Greenidge, Carlos Africano, Alba Rojas, Greisy González, José Escalante, Orlando Escalante, Ronald Meléndez, Rolipeck Vaca and Yarelis Touissant.
Herencia Venezolana already enjoys respect in local music quarters. With the support of Josua Canes' Fusion Lab Studios, the group recorded its first song titled Viva, especially for this Christmas.
The group is diligently rehearsing to improve its repertoire and to continue taking the Venezuelan party vibes to all corners of TT.