2012 Looking forward and back


It’s a new year, and first we want to say thank you again to all those who have come out to our Pelangas in 2011. You’ve helped raise money for important causes and have been essential in keeping us inspired to bring out this music that we love.

As many do around this time of year us pelangueros have been traveling. Unfortunately that has meant we haven’t been able to post that much over the past month. But we’re all getting back now and I believe everyone is very excited about sharing even more music this year.

We’re most excited about welcoming our newest chef to the Pelanga kitchen – DJ Smokestack. Over the past year, beginning with La Pelanga’s 2011 all night new years eve party, Smokestack has been filling in when one of us has been away; as well as contributing two excellent guest-posts to this blog. Lookout for some mouth-watering records coming soon from him.

Being that we haven’t posted much recently we have quite a backlog of records and videos to share. Lets begin with a group records that should have been posted closer to Christmas. Yes it’s Christmas music, but the good kind. The really good kind – Trinidadian Christmas music, also known as Parang. And being that the festive season in Trinidad ends today, December 6, the Feast of Epiphany, I’m technically still on time with this post. Parang is the folkloric music of Trinidad that is most associated with the holidays. If you’ve never heard this music (like me as of 2 years ago) you’ll probably think what I thought – this is from Trinidad?! Spanish singing with rhythms similar to  Venezuelan Joropo or Puerto Rican Jíbaro. The tradition of Parang is similar to caroling. Parang bands, going house to house serenading families as they greet the parenderos with food and drinks.

Lets start the feast off with Los Caballeros’ Porque Aguinaldo. When serenading parranderos announce their arrival in song and seek to gain entry into homes with a song about the birth of Christ. The kind with a message of peace on earth, goodwill to men and all that stuff you’ve heard 100 times before, but likely never like this.


Speaking of DJ Smokestack above, in his 2nd post about digging for records in Costa Rica he included the song Rio Manzanares done in a classic cuban orquesta style by Rolando La’serie. This song refers to the river in Venezuela and it is still well known there. It likely traveled with the migrant Venezuelans who worked in the Coca fields of Trinidad in the 1800s. Here is a typical Parang version of Rio Manzanares by Santa Familia. A really beautiful song!


Third course. Here is an example of a Parang Estribillo by Trinidad Tesoro Rancho Quemado. Estribilllos feature call and response and I love this one with Irene Martínez-like granny leading the way.


Lets finish off the feast with the late undisputed Queen of Parang, Daisy Voisin. Here is her classic Hooray Hoorah followed by De Verdad.


A toast to all of you. We really appreciate all the comments and emails you’ve sent us. Keep letting us know what you think and what you want to hear more of. Much love and gratitude. We wish you all the best in 2012. Salud!

~dj pozole