BIG EARS
Larry & Joe

Larry & Joe

The desperate plight of Venezuelan migrants escaping the economic travesty of their homeland and being taken advantage of for the sake of US political theater has drawn significant attention to that country. In this context we can appreciate the situation of Larry Bellorín even more. He’s a master musician who initially studied the four-string cuatro, one of the most revered folkloric instruments in Venezuela.

Bellorín proved to be a quick study, and he went on to learn a variety of other traditional instruments, including the Llano harp. By 2000 he was a celebrated figure, playing behind some of Venezuela’s most popular folkloric singers. He and his wife also started a music school for children as well as a music festival in his hometown of Monagas. When the economy crashed in 2012 Bellorín headed to the US with only 30 dollars in his pocket.

He did construction work initially, but over time he developed a musical network that allowed him to earn a living playing salsa as well as the Llanero music of his homeland. But the pandemic shut his burgeoning career down, forcing him back into construction. In late 2021 he met the veteran bluegrass musician and human rights activist Joe Troop, who had spent a decade living in Argentina and traveling throughout South America. Troop invited Bellorín to perform as part of a residency he had secured in Durham, and the experience was so positive that he returned to play twice more. The pair’s bond extended to its music, and now they’ve joined forces in the most natural and touching collaboration.

BIG EARS
Knoxville, TN · USA

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