Three years ago, few people knew the name Betsayda Machado. In fact, only the 1,500 people living in the small village of El Clavo in the region of Barlovento, Venezuela were familiar with her music. It wasn’t until 2017 when a fateful NYC debut inspired a passionate review by The New York Times that made her presence spread like wildfire. U.S. and world tours, and a fiery NPR Tiny Desk performance later, Machado has become the eclectic darling of the world music scene. Celebrating 30 years of music together, Betsayda’s story and that of her musical collaborators, Parranda El Clavo, has now been captured for all the world to experience in Miami New Drama‘s latest production: Viva La Parranda!.
“An immersive new musical about hope, perseverance, and the joyous rhythm of ancestral music.”
A world premiere musical inspired by Betsayda and Parranda El Clavo’s vibrant story, Viva La Parranda! captures the essence of daily culture in a rural Venezuelan town. Every quirk, dish, and tall tale. The play is unlike anything you’ve experienced in Miami, aside from unearthing the distinct traditions and rhythms of such a colorful and topical country. From the very beginning, audiences are invited to get immersed and participate in every aspect of the performance and story. All in attendance are asked to discover, indulge, and celebrate the contagious beats of Afro-Venezuelan soul through stories and songs of their real-life struggles and triumphs.
The entire performance is more than a concert, more than a theatrical production. It’s a glimpse into the lives of fellow Latin brothers and sisters whose experiences shine more brightly today than ever. “When you hear the music of Betsayda Machado and La Parranda El Clavo, you hear the heartbeat of their town nestled in the lush jungle outside Caracas, Venezuela” to quote Broadway World. “Viva La Parranda! weaves together songs, stories, and sensory experiences to recreate life in El Clavo on the stage at the Colony Theatre.”
In collaboration with Juan Carlos Souki, Miami New Drama has built a reservoir for the sensory performance experience. They’ve taken a perfectly relatable story of rural daily life and blown it out of the water thanks to the wonderous sounds of Betsayda and Parranda El Clavo. In Viva La Parranda!, whether you have Venezuelan roots or not, you see something of yourself in every story and are touched by every note. Tears swell when at last Sancocho is shared together for a final touch of humanity we all need in today’s world.
Do yourself a favor and don’t miss this performance. You’ll even get to make music with the band themselves! Viva La Parranda! plays until May 19th at The Colony Theatre. Grab your tickets.
Cover photo by NPR.