Over the years, Smithsonian Folkways — the Smithsonian Institution’s non-profit record label — has done an amazing job documenting and sharing the musical heritage of cultures around the world. The latest example is ¡Y Que Viva Venezuela! featuring an all-star group of Venezuelan musicians performing joropo oriental.
Joropo is a popular folk style found across Venezuela and Colombia; it’s a fast, string-driven music resembling the waltz, with both African and European influences. Joropo oriental is a flavor of joropo rooted in Venezuela’s eastern coast around the city of Cumaná. The bandola and bandolín are key instruments, often joined by cuatro, maracas, and caja. The button accordion isn’t always found in joropo oriental, but accordionist Mónico Márquez makes the most of its appearances in this collection.