“Sabana & Talento” Brings Venezuelan Music

“Sabana & Talento,” a traditional Venezuelan Folk Music Ensemble, spiced up last Sunday’s Catholic Mass special with a Venezuelan music. The ensemble consists of six musicians who dedicate their free time to sharing their Venezuelan families’ culture through music. The shaking of maracas and plucking of harp strings kept the beat to the music. The lively music filled Kemper Chapel in the lower level of Cochran Chapel with joyous mood as the audience clapped along. With this new rhythm and music shaking up the service’s usual pace, the audience was able to experience what Mass would be like in a Venezuelan church. The ensemble also performed a Prelude Concert prior to the Mass. Javier Barazarte, who led the group, and Geraldine Morillo Barazarte, his wife, founded “Sabana & Talento” in 2001. “We wanted to maintain the Venezuelan culture in our lives,” said Geraldine Barazarte. “Among our family and friends, it is very common to play music in reunions and gatherings. So, suddenly we found it necessary to start a group because people kept asking us to perform.” “We want to share with the public the richness the Venezuelan culture and the flavor in the music, which is something very unique. But we also just want to represent our home country in a positive way through music, which is a universal language. Through music, we can communicate with more people. I hope we can share our culture and teach others about it.” Although the musicians in the ensemble live far away from each other, they share the common mission of striving to spread Venezuelan Folk Music, and they practice and communicate with one another over Skype to prepare for performances. Elizabeth Oppong ’12, with the help of Mary Kantor, Catholic Chaplain, made “Sabana & Talento”’s visit to campus possible through the “Celebrating Cultural Legacies of Catholicism” Project they initiated. Oppong applied for and received an Abbot Grant from the Abbot Academy Association. “I wrote this grant because I know that being on a campus as diverse as ours, we often times take the variety of perspectives for granted. Catholicism and religion in a general sense, is something that is practiced all across the world and in some cases, serves as a unifying force amongst people,” said Oppong, “By reinforcing this concept, I hoped that it [would] stimulate intellectual exchanges about the implications of this concept for peace, lawmaking, etc., a topic that grows more relevant each day.”