Marco Werman: The tune we're hearing right now has served as a sort of anthem for the protestors in Venezuela. It's called "AuÌn" and it's from the album " SerÃ¡" by the Caracas-based band La Vida Boheme. At one point the lyrics go "I want my children to have what others wanted to take away from me". That can be interpreted as a dig at the government for try to quash dissent, but here's the thing - the song and the album came out before the protests. Yet they've somehow struck a chord with Venezuelans now out on the streets. Here's how the leader of La Vida Boheme, Henry Dâ€™Arthenay, explains that.
Henry Dâ€™Arthenay: A lot of things that are captured in SerÃ¡ is the despair that we are living here, a country that has so many deaths. And on a daily basis in 2013, I think it was like twenty four thousand seven hundred something violent deaths.
Werman: Yeah, made it one of the worst rates per capita in the world.
Dâ€™Arthenay: Exactly. So I think most of the people that are connecting with SerÃ¡ as an album, they are connecting with that sense that there is something very, very wrong with our country, and it is something that we want to fix. We don't want to grow old in a country where you are afraid all the time to go outside and be kidnapped or whatever.
Werman: Well, it was especially that violence, wasn't it, that actually very personally touched you and your band mates not long ago?
Dâ€™Arthenay: Yes, well, our manager, for example, he was kidnapped and our booking agent was actually murdered by the guys that kidnapped him. Our tour manager also was kidnapped. So that's what's most horrible about this. If you asked any other person my age, "Have you experienced violence? Have you experienced a kidnap or whatever?" most surely they would have experienced something like that and they will tell you about it. And that is something that transcends party politics and it becomes something wider. I think that most of the protestors, aside from being angry at the government, I think they drink from something much deeper. They drink from the angst of living in such a hostile environment with so many odds against you.
Werman: There's a song, Henry, called " El Futuro Funciona" on your CD that has the line "I have seen the future and it works". So do you feel hopeful for Venezuela's future?
Dâ€™Arthenay: Well, I'm very hopeful regarding technology in my age because I'm seeing that Twitter, for example, has become not only a social media tool, but has also become a window for my people and for people my age and other people around the world. But still talking about " El Futuro Funciona", "The Future Working", sometimes that something is working doesn't necessarily mean that it's good, you know? Our country keeps living on and money keeps going in and going out, but that doesn't mean that social injustice and things that shouldn't be are happening. That something is working doesn't mean that it is working in an ethical way.
Werman: I'm just curious to know how you feel about having, I mean there are protestors in Venezuela who are now quoting SerÃ¡. How does it feel to have all these people thinking of your music as kind of a political outline for what they're doing?
Dâ€™Arthenay: It's overwhelming and at the same time I take it with a big responsibility.
["El Futuro Funciona" plays]
Werman: That was Henry Dâ€™Arthenay of La Vida Boheme speaking with us from his home in Caracas. We'll close with the track "El Futuro Funciona" from the band's album "SerÃ¡". From the Nan and Bill Harris Studios at WGBH in Boston, I'm Marco Werman. Back with you tomorrow.
["El Futuro Funciona" plays]