March 11, 2007
Jesus Garcia, at the age of 16 a year ago, received a harp as a gift from Harping for Harmony Foundation. Today, a year later, he performed for a small group at Ecological Park La Manguera.
Garcia lives with his mother, father, and three younger siblings at El Caribe, a small town near Elorza, Municipio Romulo Gallegos, Estado Apure, Venezuela. All the children are musically inclined. However, the cost of a harp keeps most children, and even adults, from aspiring to play it. They can apply their musical talents in more affordable ways - with guitar, or maracas, or just singing and dancing.
The harp tradition is very strong here in the Venezuelan llanos (savannah). For the last three years I have come here to visit Adolfo Cardozo, who is a singer, songwriter, and professor of agriculture at UNELLEZ in Guanare. Adolfo is widely known and loved for his characterization of "Doctor Hen" (Doctora Gallina).
We have sponsored the purchase of three harps. The first went to Jesus Garcia. The second is housed at La Manguera, where it is available for any harpist who happens along. The third harp, purchased this year, will be given ON LOAN to a young person, for the term of one year. If, after one year, the student has made good progress, he (or she) will keep the harp. Prospectively, we hope to sponsor a new young harpist here every year.
Harpists here are almost all MALE. That could change, but it won't be overnight.
I've been neglecting this website for many months. Now I'm going to try to turn that around. In days ahead I hope to post more information about Harping for Harmony in Venezuela, and elsewhere. If interested in a visit to Venezuela, get in touch with me.