Orquesta Sinfónica Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho performs in Caracas, Venezuela to debut its new album, which was recorded virtually during the pandemic lockdown. Photo: Ana María Arévalo Gosen

“An audience gathered on the rooftop of a luxurious hotel in [Caracas, Venezuela], far from the overcrowded slums and traffic jams” in November 2021, writes Juliet Pineda in National Geographic (1/21). “The Orquesta Sinfónica Gran Mariscal de Ayacucho … performance marks the debut of a new album, Sinfonía Desordenada (Disorderly Symphony), recorded during the pandemic by 75 musicians from diverse backgrounds who blended elements of classical music with Afro-Caribbean rhythms … with vocals by Horacio Blanco, the lead singer of the iconic local ska band Desorden Público…. In the opening tune, a jumping beat accompanies the sharp words belted out by Blanco on how little worth life can have in Caracas, one of the deadliest cities in the world…. In early 2020, the orchestra saw a streak of packed concerts…. COVID-19 abruptly halted that momentum…. The Sinfonía Desordenada collaboration … originally intended to be showcased as a live concert … morphed into an album—created … through virtual sessions … despite weak internet connections and frequent power outages…. [Chief Conductor] Elisa Vegas … says, ‘This is not pretend hope. There are many people who are echándole pichón [putting their heart and soul into it], and we want to channel that hope.’ ”