Joropo is a big part of life in the rural plains region of the Venezuelan llanos. The name “joropo” encompasses a broad spectrum of Venezuelan cultural forms; from dress and poetry to dance and music.
Joropo is authentically Venezuelan, and its influence reaches far beyond the llanos. The music can now be heard everywhere, from the tunnels of the Caracas Metro, to the petroleum fields of Barinas, to the beaches of Choroni. Venezuelan school children learn how to dance joropo and showcase their accomplishments at ferias (festivals) wearing traditional clothing such as the liquiliqui.
This particular style of folk music features the four-stringed Venezuelan cuatro, the harp, the mandolin, and maracas. The instruments can vary by region, but joropo has an unmistakable sound and irresistible rhythm that invites listeners to dance and stomp their feet.
“Alma Llanera” is likely the most beloved joropo of all — many consider it an unofficial national anthem. Listen to a version by Simon Diaz here. Also, check out this video from a dance competition in Guárico State: