HomeLaraJune, the month of the drum and the sounds of black

June, the month of the drum and the sounds of black

The festival of San Antonio de Padua is the one that opens the month with its spiritual richness and where the religious and the cultural mix.

June is the month of drums, where the celebrations of San Antonio, San Juan and San Pedro, go to the rhythm of the hides and the processions are accompanied by that lilting sound of the culo e'puya, quitiplás, the curbata, the cruzo and the mine, which offer that are special for this displacement known as sangueo. The towns of Curiepe and Guatire (Miranda), Naiguatá and Maiquetía (La Guaira), El Tocuyo (Lara), announce every June 1st the arrival of the month with a ringing of drums, saying goodbye to the May Cross festival and giving it welcome to the festivals of these saints.

The one that opens the month is San Antonio, whose celebration is on June 13. The Lara state is the cradle of this religious cultural manifestation, which has become a representative symbol of Lara tradition and folklore over the centuries, represented by the Tamunangue or Sones de Negro, a ritual that combines music, dance and religious fervor to pay the promise made to the saint. The cultists of the Sones de Negro or the Tamunangue in Lara, highlight the spiritual value and cultural contribution to Larense society of this expression for its musical, dance, craft versatility and the deep social relationships that arise from its practice.

Tamunangue, a manifestation that has seven dances, although it is a cultural expression that characterizes the people of Lara, has particularities according to the populations that have spread it for years in each of the nine municipalities. It has a spiritual roots in honor of Saint Anthony of Padua, a saint who receives veneration from the night of June 12 and continues on June 13 of each year.

Family tradition

Rafael Enrique Juárez Sira, director of the Amanecer Larense group, recalled that its founder was José Isidro Juárez, born on April 3, 1933 in the Santo Domingo hamlet (former Pueblo Nuevo) in Curarigua, Lara. He says that the influence on his music came from his maternal uncles, known for entertaining family dances and serenades in the towns, and that his first encounter with this cultural expression was through the promises that were paid in June. .

As an adult, as a wake singer, he created the group El Garabatal in his own home, in March 1977, and participated in the Agrupación Araguaney and Cardenales del Golpe. His dream was to have his own group with his instruments, a fact that he achieved on April 27, 1995, with the participation of several of his children, founding Amanecer Larense.

Juárez died on February 16, 1996 but his legacy is still present, now led by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in the El Garabatal sector, west of Barquisimeto. Currently, the 30 members of the group continue to stand out as musicians and wake dancers, with the Tamunangue or Sones de Negro in the Curarigüeño and Tocuyano style as their framework.

Larense feeling

José Pastor Yépez Escalona, ​​a teacher at the Alma de Lara Foundation, considers that Tamunangue is a manifestation that expresses the essence of the people of Lara, “what is the feeling of each of those who live there, their successes, failures, the joys, sadness of all Lara residents,” he comments.

From the age of four he inherited his love for Sones de Negro or Tamunangue from his father, a Curarigüeño and garrote player, and his grandfather, a garrote weaver. She highlighted that the richness of cultural expression was presented by containing music, dance, crafts and gastronomy.

He explains that the particularity of the Sones de Negro is that it has seven sones and La Batalla, and in this way it is celebrated throughout the Lara state; witnessing only some changes such as, for example, the sounds have other names and the sequence varies depending on the place. During the festivities of San Antonio and when the saint and his promises are not involved, a sample of what Tamunangue is is made.

The Buena Vista area (Iribarren municipality) practices the old Tamunangue, that is, “They do the Battle at the end, not at the beginning. Wisely, they have explained that no party begins with fighting.”

Depending on the locality, explains the Tamunanguero maestro, some sones change their names. They call Yiyivamos the Pangué; They call Little by Little River Up and River Down. In El Tocuyo, the old masters begin with La Batalla and this is how it has remained from generation to generation. In Sanare it becomes more leisurely, countryside, calm.

In Quíbor it is different from that of Morán (El Tocuyo) and that of Andrés Eloy Blanco (Sanare); Poco a Poco, La Guabina are danced and three theaters are made: Los Calambres, El Caballito and La Guabina; and in the other municipalities La Guabina and El Caballito are danced, says Yépez, who has presided over the Almas de Lara group since 1976.

Zulma Mujica, a Tamunanguera from Quíbor, says that she met three groups that sang at wakes on weekends. She is the niece of Juan de la Rosa Antequera Mujica, known as Juan Bello, now deceased, who dedicated his life to this demonstration. “For me, Tamunangue is one of the most beautiful manifestations that the Lara state has, it is very complete, it has theater, crafts, dance, music; It’s rich,” she described.

He points out that the Tamunangue of Quíbor differs from El Tocuyo and Sanare. “Here (Jiménez municipality) with Poco a Poco the guabina is danced and three theaters are made: Los Calambres, El Caballito and La Guabina; and in the other municipalities they dance La Guabina and El Caballito”, a change introduced by his uncle Juan Bello, in honor of one of his dancers who was very poor, who when going out with the guabina people threw money at him, which they used to the candles and gave them to the dancer.

Another experience found was that of Altagracia Vargas, who brings together older adults in the group Canas y Ganas. She was the last dance captain of the group of the cultist Ángel María Pérez and today she is dedicated to the costumes and clubs made by her own hands.

Saint John between red and white and Saint Peter in a frock coat and pumpá

The only saint who celebrates his birthday is San Juan and every June 24 the streets of towns in the states of La Guaira, Miranda, Carabobo, Aragua, Guárico and Yaracuy are filled with red and white to sing his birthday to San Juan, where the beating of drums begins at dawn.

The festival is celebrated on the longest day of the year, June 24, and continues until the 25th in a mix of magic and charm, night of drums and dancing.

The quitiplás, culo e'puya and mina have been ringing since June 24st, and in Curiepe, Chirimena, Caruao and Chuspa you can feel the magic of the leathers until the XNUMXth when they go out to dance to the saint.

The festival of San Pedro that they celebrate every June 29 in Guatire and Guarenas, in Miranda, is cultural and was born from a miracle in the colonial era, which is more than 300 years old.

The promeseros come out dressed in frock coats and pumpá, with their typical espadrilles, with their faces marked in black, accompanied by four and maracas. He was also born from a miracle to the slave María Ignacia, a promise that the promisers have paid for three centuries.

Both cultural manifestations of African origin have been declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. San Juan in 2021 and San Pedro in 2013.

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