Henry Linárez is a cuatro musician, born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela in 1980. He began his relationship with music at the age of three and has since mastered the cuatro, a small four-stringed guitar and the national musical instrument of Venezuela. Linárez has performed both traditional and contemporary Venezuelan music in his home country and beyond, including the United States, Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. He directs the Henry Linárez Ensemble, a cohort of professional South Florida musicians who perform Venezuelan music fused with Latin rhythms.
The Henry Linarez Ensemble stand in the grass, each holding their instrument: snare drum, keyboard, violin, cuatro, maracas, bass, mandolin
Henry Linarez wears a black shirt and holds his cuatro guitar over his shoulder while looking into the camera

Residency Programs

Family Fun Day: Sounds of Venezuela
Saturday, January 14

Performance: Musical Passport to Venezuela 
Saturday, March 18

Workshop: Venezuelan Cuatro 101
Saturday, April 22
Registration required

More about Henry Linárez

The following is from an interview HistoryMiami Museum conducted with Henry Linárez in 2022. The interview has been translated from Spanish to English.

1. What is your name and where were you born? 

My name is Henry Linárez, and I was born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. 

2. When and why did you move to Miami? 

I moved in June 2015 for my family and for artistic opportunities to disseminate Venezuelan music. 

3. What musical traditions and genres do you practice? 

I am a performer of a purely Venezuelan instrument, the cuatro. For years, I have worked on behalf of the culture of Venezuela and Latin American countries by studying rhythms and sounds identified with the folklore mainly from my country and sharing the richness of Venezuelan music to other corners of the world. 

4. What can you tell me about the history of the music you play? 

My music has been performed and presented for many years, filling families’ homes with rich and original sounds. Each manifestation has a different purpose that involves sounds inspired by the geography, flora, fauna, and the heritage that Venezuela has left us thanks to its history. 

5. Tell me about the Henry Linárez Ensemble and the musicians in the group. 

Our ensemble is a group that plays covers and original songs using traditional and modern rhythms. This is a way of contributing to the idea of what can happen with traditional music in the future. I think it is an opportunity to journey through time, fusing traditional themes to go from the present to the past and from the present to the future using traditional instruments. The musicians in our ensemble are recognized for mastering their instruments and are capable of presenting a modern contemporary sound with their instruments, leading audiences to disconnect from the day-to-day. 

6. When did you learn to play music? Who taught you? 

Music has been in me since before I was born because my father, my teacher of the cuatro, always played it when I was in my mother’s tummy. Over time, my parents enrolled me in different conservatories to study music, and I had some mentors of Venezuelan music, such as Simón Díaz, Adelis Freites, and Gonzalo Tepa, among others. 

7. Tell me about the cuatro and the history of this instrument. 

The cuatro is a chordophone Renaissance instrument called a guitarrilla due to its similarity to a small guitar. Upon arrival in America, it underwent a transformation, being tuned with the notes LA/RE/FA#/SI and thus having a unique sound. Its harmonic ease is based on the key of D Major. It is an accompanying instrument, but over the last century, it has evolved to become a solo instrument, being masterfully presented by greats such as Freddy Reyna, Hernan Gamboa, and Cheo Hurtado. We currently see it as a fundamental piece in Venezuelan traditional music, passing through all Venezuelan music, and it can sound in any key and accompany any genre. 

8. What do you value most about playing Venezuelan music? 

I appreciate that I can display what I inherited from my grandparents, and that I can show and teach present and future generations to love the geography of my country through sounds even if they haven’t been there. 

9. Is there anything else you want to share? 

I am very grateful, and I feel that it is a privilege to show the roots and history of Venezuelan music. 

Supported by the National Endowment for the Arts