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The King of Cuatro: Pablo Canela

Pablo Canela

Pablo Canela is also known as El Gavilán Tocuyano.

Since Pablo Canela begins to play his violin during the performance in A Todo Color, you get amazed by his talent. Born in El Tocuyo, on November 25th, 1914, Canela was a composer, luthier, and arranger who excelled as a violinist in the Golpe Tocuyano. His passion for music started showing at a young age, and his firsts musical lessons were given by his father, Fidel Canela, who used to host festivals and religious events in their town.

During his childhood, although just for a brief moment, he had the honor of being one of the distinguished students of the Master José Ángel Rodríguez López, conductor of the Euterpe orchestra, and the most important representative of the Tocuyano staff. Canela managed the mastery of the violin and cuatro playing, but due to his humble and homely life, he wasn’t able to get a primary education or academic studies in music.

At his very hometown, he married with the love of his life, Carmen Luisa Mendoza; from that love story, 13 kids were born, all with the same talent and passion for music as Pablo. Four of them were part of the Conjunto de Los Hermano Báez, which accompanied Canela in all his performances, playing the harp, the cuatro, the maracas and the bass. Pablo and the Conjunto recorded several 45 RPM productions and many LPs that earned them important national and foreign awards, such as the Coral Juvenil Doralisa de Medina, Ampies de Oro de Venezuela, La Estrella de Venezuela y the Pentagrama de Oro Musical.

Nowadays, there is a music academy in Barquisimeto that bears his name and an instrument manufacturing company, which is run by his children.

Pablo Canela

Don Pablo Canela stood out within the folk music genre Golpe Tocuyano.

El Gavilán Tocuyano in Barquisimeto

In 1955, the musician Tocuyano moved to Barquisimeto, where he dedicated himself to his barbershop establishment and founded the first school for the cuatro teaching, where he had more than 300 students. Pablo Canela left over 40 compositions, some of the best-known are Mi Tocuyo, Viva El Tocuyo, Gavilán Tocuyano, Mirna Celosa, Hilda, and El Burro de la Manea.

In our Musical City, he devoted part of his life to the manufacture of cuatros and other musical instruments. His excellent work gave him a huge recognition, making masters, such as Aldemaro Romero and Freddy Romero, pick Pablo’s instruments as their first choice.

Pablo Canela is one of the most distinguished Tocuyanos musicians in our country. He was known as the King of Cuatro because this was the instrument with which he began his artistic life. However, he reached the top of his musical life with the violin, when people started calling him the Virtuoso del Violín. Today we remember him with the name of one of his most important compositions: El Gavilán Tocuyano.

Pablo Canela died in Barquisimeto on August 25, 1981, but his legacy will always be present. Since 1996, to keep the tradition going, one of his sons created the Pablo Canela Foundation, with the same stamp of distinction that his father gave to everything he did. This foundation served as a complement to the activities developed by the music academy of the same name and the company Instrumentos Musicales Pablo Canela, which are managed by their children.

Yo Amo Barquisimeto is always proud to show you the great talents that our beloved Lara State has had and the marks left by our brilliant musicians. If you’re curious, don’t hesitate to listen to some of the pieces of El Gavilán Tocuyano!

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