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Posts Tagged ‘reggae’

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According to Billboard Music, the band Mongrel is “genre smashing”. The supergroup promotes peace and political consciousness in their lyrics.

Comprised of  members from several bands, including Reverend & the Makers, Poisonous Poets, Arctic Monkeys, and Babyshambles, Mongrel is set to put some Venezuelan flavor in their tunes.

This month they’ll travel to Venezuela to launch a musical program and give a free show.

Mongrel is dedicated to sharing music and will give away thousands of CDs when they arrive in Caracas later this month. 400,000 copies of their last album “Better than Heavy” were distributed for free throughout Britain.

They’ll also make an appearance on the President Chavez’s weekly television show Aló Presidente. Plans are in the works to do a new album based on Jamaican reggae and Venezuela folk music, hopefully featuring Damian Marley.

Watch this video of their song “The Menace”.

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Las 4 Monedas (The Four Coins) are pioneers of Venezuelan ska and reggae. The band, originally known as Los Hermanos O’Brien, was composed of the O’ Brien siblings Marlene, Kenny, Brenda, and Gary. The famous Venezuelan composer and producer Hugo Blanco discovered them in 1968 and changed their name.

Las 4 Monedas represents Venezuela’s “first wave” of reggae-rocksteady and was the first Venezuelan group to record a reggae song. That song,  “Buena Suerte” (Good Luck), is set to the tune of Desmond Dekker’s “007 (Shanty Town)” and is still popular in Venezuela today. The band toured the world, performing in Europe, Israel, and throughout Latin America.

Las 4 Monedas translated numerous English-language classics into Spanish, including Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven,” Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billy Joe,” and Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools.”

For more information and a discography check out these links.

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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.

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