In musical circles, Venezuela was once known for the llanera ballads of its rural plains. But in today’s urbanized 21st century Venezuela, you are more likely to hear reggae and ska.
These pop sounds are influenced by rock and Caribbean rhythms, and boast lyrics that explore themes relevant to today’s youth: love, partying, politics, racial issues, national pride, and the chaos of city life. Here is a quick guide to some good reggae and ska bands in Venezuela.
Veteran ska group Desorden Público (pictured above) was formed in Caracas in 1985, and has become one of Venezuela’s most famous bands. Mention the song “Allá cayó” to any Latin American rock music fan, and they are sure to know it. Behind the dozen or so albums already released by the group is a philosophy of racial and social equality.
Like Desorden Público, Sin Sospechas writes lyrics that express a strong social consciousness, and their sound is a “musical mestizaje“: a blend of different influences, both local and foreign. Los Mentas bill themselves as “rockabilly,” which sounds like sped-up ska. Their new release is called “Sopa, Seco y Jugo.” Finally, the more laid-back sounding reggae band Papashanty Saundsystem is gaining fans fast, and is on tour in Venezuela, Colombia, and Mexico this spring.