For many July 5 is simply thought of as the day after the “4th of July”, (independence day of United States), but in Latin America 5 de Julio marks the anniversary of the first Spanish colony to declare independence. That country of course is Venezuela, home of that rebel rouser Simon Bolivar. Putting aside the debate of actual “independence” and freedom from colonization, this anniversary is historic and provides a good excuse to share some great música folklórica venezolana — specifically Gaita.
This record Los Sidoristas Cantan Gaitas by Grupo de Gaitas de Sidor is a wonderful example of gaita music. SIDOR is the largest steel corporation in Venezuela. And it looks like Sidor had their own label featuring the music of their own employees. (If anyone has more info on records produced by Sidor I’d love to hear it.) Here are two beautiful tracks from this album: Tamborera de Guayana
and Linda Guayana. I really love these types of regional songs. They’re like audible post cards that musically paints pictures of places you wish you could travel to.
What I really love though is the heavy percussion in these songs! Venezuelan gaita features the furruco, a unique friction drum that adds extra bass by making a deep pig-like snort sound. Checkout this video of un viejo giving a lesson in how to play.
Happy 5 de Julio!