In Venezuela the colour red has been stripped of beauty and power

In Venezuela the colour red has been stripped of beauty and power


norman lebrecht

September 06, 2010

The pianist Gabriela Montero has published a statement with her new recording of South American music, delicately explaining her opposition to the Hugo Chávez regime in terms of colour coding. A passionate and courageous performer, Montero regrets her country’s decline under its showboating Castroist president. Here’s her sleeve-note in full:


I make records because I want to share my

own and others’ creativity, emotional world and

personal souvenirs through sound. I believe

everything we do and say is a testament to

who we are. A fingerprint. A statement. Usually,

the very recognisable EMI logo is red and

white. You’ll notice that in this record, the EMI

logo is black and white. I’ve chosen to exclude

any red in SOLATINO, except for the letter ‘O’,

because in Venezuela, the colour red has been

stripped of its passionate beauty and power,

and is now associated with repression, fury

and control. You’ll also notice that the title is

coloured by Yellow, Blue and Red. These are

the colours of the Venezuelan flag. Red is the

last colour on my flag and, coincidentally, ‘O’

is my blood type. I find the symbolism in this

quite beautiful. We all share that same source

of life: blood. It is the red blood cells that carry

oxygen through our bodies. Without them, we

perish. With the right balance, we thrive. I’d like

this ‘O’ to be coloured by a peaceful shade of

red. The red that belongs to all of us. The red

that is beautiful in its intensity, and not hurtful

in its grip. The red that belongs in this world

and not the type that separates and

extinguishes us. There is no space for the

wrong kind of red, and I choose to remove

it from this record. It is my statement.

Gabriela Montero


  • M.Etzel says:

    I congratulate Gabriela Montero for this statement. Chaves is destroying Venezuela and according to friends he is there for life. Other countries in South America are following the same trend. The price of populist governments and lack of education is terribly high.

  • RogerRabbit says:

    A british diplomat recently described Chavez as ”another of the world’s kleptocratic megalomaniacs.” Yet he is courted by the likes of Oliver Stone, Sean Penn and Noam Chomsky, all brilliant men when not confusing socialist, armchair ideology with the real picture, one of organised murder (the fourth highest rate in the world), imprisonment, expropriation and media censorship. Artists are being imprisoned, opposition television stations shut down, and dissenters killed. This is the reality. Gabriela Montero knows it, and has taken a brave and dignified stance, armed only with her music. I salute her.