Dudamel versus Serenata Guyanesa

A very nasty comment by "anonymous" in my post on Xmas music make me take the unusual step or publicly replying as an excellent opportunity to measure the survival of artists in fascist regimes like our own today.
In Venezuela there is no copyright valid.  The regime paid long ago some lip service when Microsoft launched a strong world wide campaign in defense of intellectual property and nothing followed, all was promptly forgotten.  Not to mention that there are those in the regime that think that working with your mind alone is not a revolutionary attitude.  As a consequence today Venezuelan artists cannot make a decent living if they depend solely on the Venezuelan market.  They may sell a couple of thousand of copies of a new CD (to people like me that condemn piracy for artists) but quickly the pirated copies will be sold by the thousands and thousands through pirated sellers in the streets, for a tiny fraction of course of the original.

This is the case of Serenata Guayanesa, a superb group of Venezuelan folk music, which has done a great work of rescuing many tunes and styles that were unknown to most of us, way before Chavez came to power.  But now their style has gone out of fashion as reggaeton has taken over supreme over the country (even Salsa is under threat).  That, plus piracy, and you can understand why the Serenata Guyanesa group has been vying for some government support.  Before Chavez they could make a decent living at best (no Hollywood like mansion and swimming pool for them).  But since Chavez allowed piracy so his hordes could get access to stuff for cheap to nothing, the Serenata simply cannot make ends meet on their work as even concert sessions are on the way out, not only because of fashion, but also because of insecurity when you attend them, the cost of holding them today, etc, etc....

Although I am certainly not happy that they caved in (after more than 10 years, it must be noted), I really cannot be mad at them.  But I can be mad at Gustavo Dudamel who is now in my shit list of chavistas, doomed to suffer the von Karayan syndrome for the rest of his life, the more so when the crimes of chavismo are finally fully revealed.

There are two people today noted for the youth orchestral system of Venezuela, the founder Abreu and his biggest star so far, Dudamel.  Abreu is working for the remain of his life is to preserve the system he devoted his life to, trying desperately to avoid a chavista take over which would mark its demise as it is the case of everything chavismo touches.  Thus Abreu did nothing different than what he did in the past: kowtow to the power in place. He will pay a price for that but at least he has an excuse and when the regime meets its defenestration we will find a way to redeem him.

But Dudamel has no redemption ahead of him because he does not depend on the regime for his livelihood as he is now an international star, Music Director of the L.A. symphony.  He could have found many ways to make his support to the Youth Orchestral system discreet but no.  As times goes by it seems that his relationship to the regime grows and that he takes even pleasure in it.  Some people simply cannot resit the lure of raw power.  Other rising stars of the system did not succumb like Dudamel did: think for example of the Venezuelan directors now in place at Oslo or La Fenice in Venice.  I do not see them playing for Chavez on a regular basis (nor hinting that Dudamel is "sacrificing" himself so that they can stay out of to rule).  I suppose that maybe someday we may learn that it was a plot all along by Abreu and Dudamel to sacrifice themselves for the befit of the system, but that ultimate condemnation of a passed regime had better be good if Dudamel wants his good name back in Venezuela.  I, for one, will not be buying records or concert tickets from him ever again (not to mention that I have my own artistic questions about how brilliant Dudamel may be).

Since at some point the regime is going to be ousted (they always do, it is only a matter of time) it is already important for us to discuss such things because we need to settle the criteria which will allow forgiveness or punishment of its collaborators, be they Dudamel or Ramirez at PDVSA.  We need to understand the reasons of why they did such collaboration and accept that somethings can be crossed over and forgotten, but some cannot.  Certainly Dudamel cannot be sent to jail for his own hubris and immaturity, but public contempt is in store for him, without the need of a trial.  He is still in time to find his way out of his own self created mess, though he certainly can remain in the wealthy left of L.A., as disconnected from the reality of the world a group as you can find.  They do go well together, bbq at the Penn compound included.


Special note for anonymous on his blasting "el norte".  You missed the point completely.  That song is about the travails of emigration, about the dashed hopes that go with it.  It was written at a time where NY was as much our exile route as Miami (it is not any more for Venezuelans).  But the song could have been equally well written for Madrid or London or Dallas or....  If they chose New York it was to make sure folks at home understood better because all of us had been or knew someone one who had been to New York.  True, it is a little bit strong at first, but it certainly is not ANTI New York.  It is ANTI emigration and New York is the unfortunate prop.

So, if you are a New Yorker do not take it personally and be sure to understand a text, not only in words but in context and humor before you trash it as idiotically as you did.  Thank you.