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Music of Venezuela

Venezuelan music has been largely overshadowed on the international scene by its neighbors, especially Brazil, Trinidad and Colombia. It is known for its own salsa, merengue and other imported styles, as well as the distinct llanera music.

Originally a rural form of the llanos, or plains, llanera spread to musically creative artists like Juan-Vicente Torrealba, who helped popularize the music across the country, leading to a slick modern form of pop-llanera that has earned scorn from purists and much of the younger Venezuelan listeners, who perceive it as stale and watered-down. Some singers, like Simon Díaz and Reynaldo Armas have maintained a huge following over the years.

Other forms of Venezuelan folk music have achieved little or no popular acclaim, but are extensively recorded and researched due to the work of Caracas-based Fundación Bigott. African-derived percussion (including multiple rhythms, such as gaita, sangeo, fulia and parranda) is perhaps the most well-documented subject, and has produced groups like Un Solo Pueblo, Huracán del Fuego and Grupo Madera. This vanguard fusion artists combine rumba, Latin jazz, llanera, salsa and other forms of music from Latin America.

Venezuelan calypso music, imported from Trinidad in the 1880s by immigrants arriving during a gold rush, has its own distinctive rhythms and lyrical style. Spelled calipso in Venezuela, the music has had major stars, including most famously VH. Another imported genre is Cuban-American salsa music, which has several domestic superstars, including José-Luis Rodriguez. Dominican merengue and Latin pop acts (sometimes insultingly referred to as musica gallega) like Billo's Caracas Boys, Pofri Jimenez Orquesta and Los Melodicos.

Other famous musicians include Edgar Ojeda, Adrenalina Caribe, and and Cheo Hurtado.