When it comes to culture there is no shortage in Santa Cruz.
It is the home of arguably the oldest, greatest and most well-known parang group to be created in this country—the Lara Brothers.
While the Lara Brothers did not originate in Santa Cruz, the four boys and their parents moved to T&T from Venezuela and started signing with their father, Ignacio. When he left the family, they assumed their mother's surname instead, and the Lara Brothers parang band was born.
Daphne Lara-Roberts, sitting in the living room of the home she lived in with her father, Tito, recounted the legacy of Willie, Tito, Antonio and Victor, the original Lara Brothers.
She said they started going from house to house performing in Santa Cruz and eventually around the country. Although Victor made the occasional appearance with the group, his work schedule didn’t allow him to be a full-time member.
"Growing up, people would come from about early in the morning time to come and meet my dad. His brother would come and they would start to parang from here and then they would go next door and they would keep going from there," Lara-Roberts said.
The group began to grow and moved from seven to approximately 20 members. It toured not just locally but internationally as well.
Lara-Roberts explained that her uncle Wille was the writer and her father was the singer. But although Tito Lara wasn’t a writer, "he would sit down and now for now he would just take up his cuatro and he would start to hum a song and then he would just put it to words, but he wouldn’t write, he would just remember what he was singing."
After time, Tito became known as the father of parang.
"Everybody looked up to him. Everybody used to call him dad and uncle or whatever. He was such a person that you could go to. You want to find something you could go to him and ask him," she said
Now all the brothers have passed away but the mantle is being carried on by Tito’s son Carlos Not one day goes by without Lara-Roberts feeling proud of her family name and legacy.