About Us

What is a Parrandero?

The term “Los Parranderos” is close in meaning to the expression “The Party Goers” and refers to happiness, laughter, and good disposition to enjoy life.

Origins

The group started back in 1996 when a small circle of friends, all of them Venezuelan immigrants, decided to revive the Venezuelan tradition of going door-to-door singing Christmas Carols to their neighbours around the Student Residences on campus at the University of British Columbia.

FIRST PUBLIC PRESENTATION

The first time Los Parranderos “dared” to go public was during the Christmas season of 1997. That year, Los Parranderos performed at the Granville Island Annual Christmas Fair. They have been invited to participate every year ever since.

10-YEAR CELEBRATION

Los Parranderos celebrated their 10-year anniversary in style at the Capilano Banquet Hall of the Best Western Sands by the Sea Hotel, Downtown Vancouver. In typical fashion, the ‘parranda’ goers partied until the hall was closed and great fun was had by all. 

20-YEAR CELEBRATION

We are currently in the planning stages for our 20th Anniversary. Stay tuned for more details coming soon. #20YearsOfParrandas

Los Parranderos Today

Nowadays, the group consists of about 16-20 participants and is currently under the direction of Ivan Contramaestre-Luces.  Los Parranderos was previously directed by Maria Luces, whose  dedication, knowledge, and patience have been instrumental in shaping this group of amateur musicians.

The group starts its performances in November and continues all through the Christmas season, having shows in Granville Island, Canada Place, Cypress Mountain, Local Schools, Grouse Mountain, Churches, Community Centres, Restaurants, Senior homes, and other venues around the Metro Vancouver area.

Los Parranderos are not musicians.  Instead, they are “happy people with musical homesickness” whom are thrilled to share their rhythms and enthusiasm with Vancouverites, Canadians and their guests.

As an additional note, members of this group felt the need to expand its activities and repertoire outside of Christmas themes and perform year-round with the additional aim to include music from the rest of Latin America as well.

The idea gave birth to several additional groups:

  • Fusion Latina, Vancouver’s First Latin American Choir:  It aimed at promoting music from all over the Latin America region.  Sadly, Fusion Latina is no longer performing.
  • Asi Somos, a quintet performing Afro-Venezuelan music.  In 2014, Asi Somos appeared at the Opening Gala for the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival (VLAFF).  Most recently, they have performed in various festivals in the Metro Vancouver area.

Some of our members also perform in other similar groups, which we want to acknowledge and give a shout-out:

  • Viene Sonando, under the direction of the magnificent Marianella Ramos.  This smaller choir has performed in multiple venues in Metro Vancouver and are not to be missed.
  • SongPati Latin Band, Vancouver’s own Gaitas ensemble and Latin Band.  In 2015, they performed in Calgary as the opening artists for the legendary Latin music band Guaco.  They also host Vancouver’s Major Latin Dance Series. Check their website for more details.

We sing "Aguinaldos", "Parrandas", and "Gaitas" - Venezuelan Christmas Carols.

Aguinaldos​

Aguinaldo is a folk genre of Christmas music, which began as a derived form of the Spanish “Villancicos”. In Venezuela, aguinaldos are often performed by people called parranderos—a casual group of people, often family or friends, who go from house to house. Also, in Venezuela the word “aguinaldo” is associated with a gift during the Christmas season.

Of ample dispersion in the country, the aguinaldo song is interpreted not only to religious motives, but also to the humanity of the Joy of Christmas. Also, and according to the various regions of the country, it is sung with the support of diverse musical instruments. The aguinaldos are generally comprised of six verses which can be specially composed, or improvised in agreement with the circumstances.

In many communities of Venezuela it is customary for the musicians sing in front of the cross and the mangers (nativities scenes) which can be found in almost every home.

The aguinaldos, in many cases, maintain melodies in which old carols are recognized, but the rhythmical factor and the use of numerous instruments create differences from them. It is for that reason that can be spoken of an evolutionary process in the aguinaldo that includes the presence of síncopas, (great metrical freedom) as well as some fusion with contemporary lullabies and modern musical genres.

Aguinaldos can comprise a complete instrumental set of “Parranda Navideña”: the violin, clarinet, bandolín, and until the end of the late 1800s accordion-like instruments, that are in charge of the prelude and interlude and are used to duplicate the melody of the song if wished. Nevertheless, the richest aspect conforms the support of instruments such as “charrasca”, “chineco”, the triangle, drums, tambourines, maraccas, “furruco”, “cuatro”, “requinto”, sometimes the guitar and tiple.

Gaitas

​​The Gaita is the name of a Venezuelan folk music from Maracaibo, Zulia state. It is a genre associated with Christmas all over the country. The themes addressed by the interpreters of this genre range from love songs to religious figures and even humorous subjects of complaint. The political element is also the protagonist of many issues interpreted in Gaitas.

The style became popular throughout Venezuela in the 1960s, and it fused with other styles such as salsa and merengue in the 1970s.

OUR Repertoire
  1. ​TUN! TUN!
  2. EL NIÑO JESÚS
  3. AGUINALDO DEL CALLAO
  4. CÓRRELA, CÓRRELA
  5. LAS CAMPANAS SUENAN
  6. EL PONCHO ANDINO
  7. AGUINALDO CARUPANERO
  8. EL BURRITO DE BELÉN
  9. CHINITA DE MARACAIBO
  10. CAMINO DE BELÉN
  11. TUCUSITO
  12. CANTO DE PASTORES DE SAN JOAQUÍN
  13. CASTA PALOMA
  14. LA NEGRA DEL TAMUNANGUE
  15. EL CUCUY QUE ALUMBRA
  16. VAMOS A BELÉN
  17. SI ACASO ALGÚN VECINO
  18. CORRE CABALLITO
  19. NIÑO LINDO
  20. NACIÓ EL REDENTOR
  21. PRECIOSO QUERUBE
  22. FUEGO AL CAÑÓN
  23. SENTIR ZULIANO
  24. PARRANDA
  25. FELIZ NAVIDAD
  26. SIN RENCOR
  27. AMPARITO
  28. ESTA BELLA NOCHE
  29. DIME SI ES PASCUA
  30. AGUINALDO MARGARITEÑO
  31. TOMA LO QUE TE OFRECÍ
  32. LA MATICA
  33. ALUMBRA COCUYITO
  34. EL NIÑO CRIOLLO
  35. LA CABRA MOCHA
  36. LA BOTELLITA
  37. OH LUNA QUE BRILLA EN DICIEMBRE
  38. EL ÁNGEL GABRIEL
  39. LA RESTINGA
  40. LA CACHUA
  41. AGUINALDO INDÍGENA
  42. ÁBRANNOS LA PUERTA
  43. LA BARCA DE ORO
  44. AL LLEGAR AQUÍ
  45. BURRO PARRANDERO
  46. ALUMBRAME EL ZAGÜAN
  47. TAMBORERA No. 9 (SAN BENITO)
  48. LA MOZA
  49. RIO MANZANARES
  50. LUNA DECEMBRINA
  51. SON MIS DESEOS
  52. ESTO ES DECIR VENEZUELA
  53. EL GALLO
  54. VOLVER A CASA​
  55. AGUINALDO CUMANES
Active Members
In no particular order,  If we seem to be missing a name or two, please let us know and we will add them to the list
  • Elizabeth
  • Mari
  • Richard
  • Carlos
  • Diana
  • Josefina
  • Alba
  • Araceli
  • Patricia
  • Lourdes
  • Luis L
  • Laura
  • Ricardo
  • Juan
  • Jose
  • Ivan C-L
  • Maria
  • Eliette
  • Engelbert
Our Alumni Members
in no particular order​.  If we seem to be missing a name or two, please let us know and we will add them to the list
  • Adriana
  • Simelis
  • Luis G
  • Caren
  • Engelbert
  • Yuri
  • Edgar
  • Jorge
  • Gaby
  • Mercedes
  • Tery
  • Josue
  • Jenny
  • Rocio
  • Oscar
  • Beatriz
  • Ivan B
  • Javier
  • Marianella
  • Simon
  • Carolina
  • Ivan C
  • Susana
  • Julian
  • Nene
  • Carmen
  • Pilar
  • Angela
  • Valentina
  • Maria Angelica
  • Rainer
  • Daniela