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International Music Resources by Country: Venezuela

International Music Resources offers an array of online and physical resources both freely available and/or offered by the George F. DeVine Music Library. The information included in these guides may serve as a starting point for the study and research of

Panoramic photo of mountains in Venezuela

Citation (1)

Garland Encyclopedia of World Music-Venezuela

Music of Venezuela

Venezuela: Tradition De La Mandoline Album Art

Jazz Venezolano: An Anthology of Jazz Made in Venezuela Album Art

Traditional Songs from Venezuela Album Art


Facts in Brief

Venezuelan Flag

Venezuela’s geopolitical importance exceeds expectations for a country with a population of 31.8m. inhabitants at mid-2018, a territorial area similar to that of Namibia or Turkey, and a declining economic clout. The country’s regional and global role has been shaped by the possession of the world’s largest oil reserves, but also by its dual identity and geographic location between the Caribbean and South America. The democratic doctrine of former President Rómulo Betancourt, the San José agreement of 1983 (establishing generous terms for delivering oil to Central America and the Caribbean) and the ideological alliance with Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and four Caribbean states (the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America–People’s Trade Treaty, Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América–Tratado de Comercio de los Pueblos—ALBA–TCP) during the ‘Bolivarian revolution’ underlined Venezuela’s importance as a regional hub and counterpoint to the USA. The turbulent history of ‘the Latin American Saudi Arabia’ can be attributed to a number of issues. Oil revenues fell as a result of the so-called Dutch disease, namely the negative effect of corruption, the decline of productive industries, an increase in imports, high inflation rates, and an extreme vulnerability to international price fluctuations. Deep polarizations (between federalists and centralists, liberals and conservatives, democrats and autocrats, whites and non-whites) and the prominent role of the military in politics also took its toll. Even today, these factors continue to determine the country’s conflictive political evolution.


Citations (5 and 6)

Map of Venezuela

Map of Venezuela

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is on the northern coast of South America. Colombia lies to the west of the country, pushing into it in the south-west. This border (2,050 km or 1,273 miles) is only a little shorter than that with Brazil (2,200 km), which lies to the south. To the east is Guyana—beyond a 743-km frontier, which Venezuela claims should be further east still, along the Essequibo river. There is also a dispute over maritime boundaries in the Gulf of Venezuela with Colombia, and several Caribbean nations object to Venezuelan possession of the isolated Isla de Aves (Island of Birds), 565 km north of the mainland, on a similar latitude to northern Dominica (over 200 km to the east). There are islands that are not Venezuelan territory much closer to the mainland: northern Trinidad (Trinidad and Tobago) is 11 km off shore, to the east of the Paria peninsula and dropping south above the Orinoco delta; at the other end of the country, in the west, the Dutch island of Aruba is 25 km north of the Paraguaná peninsula (at the mouth of the Gulf of Venezuela); while a little further east is Curaçao (55 km off shore), and then Bonaire (80 km), although Bonaire is further from the mainland than it is from the Venezuelan dependencies in the Lesser Antilles (specifically, the Islas Las Aves—not to be confused with the single, northerly Aves island mentioned above). Aves is the most northerly of the 72 Caribbean islands, islets or cays included within the territory of Venezuela, which totals 916,445 sq km (353,841 sq miles).

Citations (3 and 4)

Venezuelan Music (Grove Music Online)

Venezuela was not colonized as fast as other Caribbean or northern South American territories because the area was considered one of the poorest of the continent, and it suffered considerable neglect throughout the period. In the early 16th century Franciscans and Dominicans came to help with various colonization attempts and to pursue missionary work. The earliest towns were Nueva Córdoba (now Cumaná), founded in 1521, and Caracas, founded in 1567 and made the capital in 1587, though Venezuela formed part of the Viceroyalty of Peru until 1739. The earliest reference to musical activity records the establishment of a school in Caracas in 1591 whose curriculum included plainchant; funds were granted in 1593 to Juan de Arteaga to continue the syllabus. In 1591 a Melchor Quintela was organist at Caracas Cathedral. During the 17th century there were several further attempts by Franciscan missionaries to increase the number of missions and towns. The Capuchin Diego de los Ríos (d 1670) taught music to Amerindians in the Píritu mission and is known to have written motets and villancicos with texts in the Carib language. The post of maestro de capilla at Caracas Cathedral was established and held by Gonzalo Cordero in 1671. Francisco Pérez Camacho (1659–c1725) was appointed maestro de capilla at the cathedral in 1687 and taught music at the local seminary; he also held the chair of music at the University of Santiago de León, Caracas, founded in 1725.

Citation (2)

Streaming Video: Bienvenido Gustavo!


(1): Kukenan and Roraima Tepuis

(2): Béhague, G., Hill, J., & Guido, W.  (2001). Venezuela, Bolivaran Republic of. Grove Music Online. Retrieved 16 Apr. 2020, from