© 2019 by Los Llaneros

Los Llaneros is a member of Artes Latinas

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THE ENSEMBLE

Our ensemble Los Llaneros (yah-NEH-ros) brings to the stage the often energetic and sometimes haunting melodies of the Colombian/Venezuelan Llanos or plains that surround the vast basin of the Orinoco River in South America.  The Llanos (YAH-nos) is a geographically and culturally unique and little known area of Latin America, and its music evolved from the contact between nomadic Indians and Jesuit settlers starting about five hundred years ago. 

Due to the distinctly characteristic syncopations and difficult harp and cuatro techniques, Llanero music is rarely performed in its authentic style outside of the region, and hence it remains one of Latin America’s best kept secrets.


The ensemble was founded in 1978 in Latin America.  One of its founding members,  Karin Stein (Colombian),  still serves as the ensemble's main vocalist and ensemble leader.  Other members (see below)  include Edgar East (Panamanian), and harpists René Devia (Colombian) and Daniel Rojas (Colombian), who perform with the ensemble on an alternating basis.

Los Llaneros performs as a trio at smaller events, and as a quartet on large stages or outdoor events.

 

NOTE: a "Llanero" is a man from the Llanos, a "Llanera" a woman from the Llanos, and "Llaneros" is the term for all of the people from the Llanos. It literally means "people of the plains."

The sentiment of Llanero music is captured by the harp and personal style of René Devia, long considered an institution in Colombian harp music. Over the last fourty years, René recorded ten LPs under the CBS/Sony International label, released several CDs of his own, and gained notoriety with the innovative harp techniques featured in his compositions.

Harp, cuatro, vocals, maracas, tiple, guitar,  percussion

The Musicians

René Devia

Colombian

Daniel (Colombian), affectionately known as "Dany Harp," is one of the young and rising stars of Llanero harp music.  Aside from being a versatile virtuoso, Daniel has launched the Harp And Folklore Foundation, an important U.S.-based initiative aimed at enhancing the public's understanding and appreciation for Latin folk music, in particular the harp music of Venezuela,
Colombia, and Mexico.

Harp, cuatro, vocals, maracas, tiple, guitar,  percussion

Daniel Rojas

Colombian

Karin Stein

Colombian

Karin is a musician and composer native to the Llanos.  Her clear and powerful voice has earned her praise from many sources, and her compositions have won prizes and been featured in a variety of movies and documentaries.  In addition to being the ensemble's lead vocalist and director, she performs with Latin duo Calle Sur together with Ed East.

Lead vocals, cuatro, guitar, tiple, quena, gaita, caña de millo, small percussion instruments

Edgar East

Panamanian

Ed was born and raised Panama, and began performing at a very young age. Besides being a member of Los Llaneros, Latin duo Calle Sur, and directing the Afro-Latin Project, Ed performs Latin jazz, salsa, vocal jazz, and world music, as a soloist or with other ensembles.  Ed has a degree in music education and taught band for eighteen years before becoming a touring musician.

Vocals, maracas, Latin percussion, bass, flute, ​quena, gaita, caña de millo

 NOTE: Los Llaneros will perform with either Daniel or René as harpists to from a trio.  For large stages, master maraca player and percussionist, Diego Mosquera, joins us to form a quartet.  

Diego Mosquera

Colombian

L to R: Edgar East (Panamanian), Mauricio Ordúz (Colombian), Daniel Rojas (Colombian), Karin Stein (Colombian)

LOS LLANOS

"Los Llanos" (los YAH-nos), meaning "The Plains," is the savanna region which encompasses the vast watershed of the Orinoco River. It unites eastern Colombia with the central third of Venezuela. This expansive and beautiful land is characterized by ample, open grasslands, and slow-flowing rivers and creeks flanked by gallery forests. The human population density in the Llanos has always been low, primarily because of its poor soils.
The Precolumbian Indian tribes of the Llanos, which were descendants of Caribbean cultures, led a nomadic life and subsisted by hunting, gathering, and horticulture.  

Jesuit missionaries arrived in the Llanos beginning in the Sixteenth Century, followed by large-scale landowners and their cattle herds.  Since then, the life of the Llaneros or people of the Llanos has been closely tied to cattle ranching. Even today, cattle ranching is an important way of life in the Llanos, threatened in some areas  by encroaching, large-scale agriculture and oil extraction.

Over the centuries, Spanish influences were adapted and transformed, and from this process emerged a distinct Llanero culture with very similar characteristics on both sides of the border between Colombia and Venezuela. Music continues to play a central role in the daily lives of  Llaneros, and its central themes continue to be cattle ranching, nature, and love.  Los Llanos has seen a most interesting cultural blending which is reflected in every note and syncopation.

Map showing the location of the Llanos in northern South America.

In terms of the European settlement that first brought cattle, horses, and the cowboy lifestyle to South America in the early Sixteenth Century, the history of the Llanos region is similar to that of the better known "Pampas" plains of Argentina and Brazil, though the music is distinctly different.

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