GO TO THIS: Currently on stage at the Colony Theatre is the Afro-Caribbean music of Betsayda Machado and members of La Parranda El Clavo, in the world premiere of “Viva La Parranda!” The musical, in Spanish with English supertitles, is based on the musicians’ life stories told through the parranda song tradition, filled with contagious beats and immersive experiences.
WHY TO TRY IT: During the musical, the audience will be transported to the small village of El Clavo, located just outside of Caracas, Venezuela. The show weaves together the sights, sounds, and smells of struggle and triumph in the musician’s lives.
The musicians have been friends for the past 30 years and have only recently started performing outside of their region in Venezuela.
“Every time I listen to this band, I get this feeling that I’ve been lifted a couple of inches from the ground,” said Juan Carlos Souki, director of the musical. “It’s a group that has no melodic components – it’s only drums and voices. And all the harmony sections happen with voices alone.”
For attendees, the show lets you dance, clap along, and at the end you’ll have the opportunity share a bowl of sancocho (a big communal soup) with the cast, which is the center of the musical.
It’s around the soup that the cast tells their stories through words, dance, and music. Stories of a father’s untimely death, the tumultuous history of the region, and time spent working on a cocoa farm.
MOST SURPRISING FACT (WHICH ISN’T THAT SURPRISING ONCE YOU HEAR THE MUSIC): The New York Times listed “Loe Loa: Rural Recordings Under the Mango Tree” – an album by Betsayda Machado and La Parranda El Clavo – as one of the best albums of 2017.
Get a taste of the music from a 2018 performance for NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert:
HOW TO TRY IT: Tickets for the world premiere of “Viva La Parranda!” are on sale now. The show is on stage at The Colony Theatre until May 19.