The Discomoda Legacy

 The national and international music history of Venezuela begins with Discomoda. Established in 1948, Discomoda is one of the earliest record labels of Venezuela and the oldest family operated record label of the country. Since 1948, Discomoda has provided many of Venezuela’s best-known artists into the international stage. Our company is home to one of the most complete folkloric and popular music catalogues of Venezuela.

About Us

The creation of El Disco de Moda C.A. is centered on an unforgettable character, César Roldán, who founded the company in 1948. What was initially an importer and distributor of records, later became one of the most complete and important industrial emporiums in Latin America.  César Roldán was born on February 6, 1927, in the town of Múcura, Bolivar State, Venezuela. He studied at the Escuela Técnica Industrial de San Martín, where he received an education in industry and business. Shortly after getting married, he and his wife — Elena de Roldán – started a business selling records and trinkets throughout Caracas, Venezuela. Elena said, “[when my husband decided to] start his own business; we decided to take on all the risk it implied together, and I was always willing to help him.”

Mr. Roldán, acquired first a motorcycle and later a delivery van, and in it he traveled around Caracas, with his wife, who served as his assistant. Over time, Mr. Roldán began negotiations with some foreign firms, directly importing products from countries such as Mexico, the United States, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Colombia.  El Disco de Moda, C.A. was formally established and registered as a distributor on March 30, 1955.

The original Discomoda logo was designed by Rodrigo Soto Restrepo, illustrator and photographer of the company. The logo was inspired by the U.S. Capitol Records label, which captured it’s nation’s capitol building. Mr. Restrepo was asked to capture the emblematic twin towers of the Simon Bolivar Center, in Caracas, Venezuela, known as Las Torres del Silencio, as can be seen on the internal label of vinyl records. When built, these towers were a symbol of Venezuelan national identity and industrialization.

The Company, in its beginnings, began to give great importance to national talent, especially Creole artists, trios, and figures who came from abroad preceded by much success, who did not have exclusive contracts with any record company . These were the cases of Daniel Santos, Nelson Pinedo, Pacho Galan, Alci Sanchez, Pepita del Moral and Mary Sanchez. Many of these artists were already known and had a certain trajectory because they had recorded their 78 RPM records that had arrived in Venezuela through imports.

It was also the time when Mexican artists of great prestige and from other Latin American countries began to come to the country, whom El Disco de Moda, C.A. represented in Venezuela through its label, among them: Lucho Gatica, Oswaldo Gomez "El Indio Araucano'' and Tony Aguilar. Manolo Monterrey "El Ciclon Antillano" arrived from Cuba, who stayed in Venezuela and frequently sang on the radio stations.

 Whenever an artist came to Venezuela, it was Mr. César Roldán who personally attended to them, sometimes accompanied by his wife Elena de Roldán, Carlos Esparragoza Vega or Rodrigo Soto. This way of doing public relations worked very well for the company as the artists liked that it was the president of the label himself who attended to them. It was a gesture of courtesy that went a long way.

 On February 14, 1958, Discomoda’s factory was born under the name of Fabrica Venezolana de Discos, C.A. also known as Favedica. Artists and orchestras of the highest quality that entertained evenings in the different capital clubs, among them Casablanca, Sans Souci, Los Cortijos, Root Garden Club Venezuela, El Country Club, El Pasapoga, El Hotel Avila, the Pabellon del Viejo Hipodromo de El Paraiso, and those who made Carrera in the interior of Venezuela, began to record with the Discomoda label, among them, César del Avila, Lilia Madrigal, Genaro Garcia, Trio la Rosa, Los Jiraharas, La Sonora Caracas, Juanito Arteta, Luis Alfonzo Larrain, Juan Polanco, Los Antaños del Estadium,, Los Yumbos, Trio America, Pipo Rivas, Quinteto Tropical and Eleazar Agudo, among others.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the work at Discomoda was intense: Mr. César Roldán had acquired more machinery for a recording studio, thus forming a new company called Sonomatrix. This offered recording services, editions, copies and cuts, which allowed him to create his own products and those of other record companies. The same was done in the department of Galvano where they made the matrices of their stamp and of other accredited factories in Caracas. It is important to review some of his collaborators at this time: Carlos Esparragoza, Stanley Standhouse, Benito Vieitez, Carlos Guerra, Oswaldo Oropeza (creator of the song “Cinco pa las doce”), Rodrigo Soto, Juan Vené (creator of the Guaicaipuro de Oro award), Eleazar Roldán, Juan Manuel Lugo, Manny Delgado, César Alcala, Jorge Ramirez, Ligia Garcia, Maria de Romero, Gladys Hernandez, Jesus R. Colmenarez, Peter Cernik, Alfredo Churion, Alejandro Lopez, Alvaro Rodriguez, Saturnino Monteverde, Mario Genovesse, Julio Zerpa, Rafael Rios Arrieta (legal advisor and founder of the Camara del Disco in Venezuela), and other important personalities of the international record industry.

By the 60's, Discomoda represented a series of labels from different parts of the world, Odeon being one of the most successful firms, since it had in its catalog the recordings of The Beatles, Carlos Gardel, Frank Pourcel, Lucho Gatica, Gregorio Barrios, Fernando Albuerne, Genaro Salinas, Luis Aguile, Francisco Canaro, Renato Carosone, Charlo, Alfredo de Angelis, Julio Jaramillo, Gloria Lasso, Leo Marini, Lecuona Cuban Boys, Alfonzo Ortiz Tirado, Antonio Machin, Pedrito Rico, Los Chavales de España; in short, the greatest singers and orchestras in the world. On the other hand, the Musart de Mexico label had singers of great power in sales who were very well located in Mexican cinema, because they were also actors, among them, Luis and Tony Aguilar, Lalo Gonzalez "Piporro", El Mariachi Mexico, Mariachi Perla de Occidente, Nelson Pinedo, Virginia López, Olga Guillot, and Flor Silvestre.

In this time, Discomoda distributed throughout Central America and had a presence in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. In Colombia, years later, on August 6, 1969, Mr. Roldán opened his own subsidiary, Discomoda de Colombia Ltda., Where the Discomoda de Venezuela label was manufactured and distributed, as well as other licenses such as: La Fania All Star, West Side Latino, Tico, Alegre and Inca.

Discomoda's success was so great that it represented artists throughout South America such as Luis Aguile from the Exito label; Julio Jaramillo, Onix label; Raphael, Hispavox label; Frank Sinatra, Reprise label; The Pop Tops, Poplandia label; Karina, Hispavox label; Trini Lopez, with Reprise. In short, Discomoda represented many international labels with exclusive representation throughout South America. At that time a slogan was created that stated: "of every two records sold in Venezuela, one is from Discomoda." 

Discomoda also established a publishing and lithography department: Orbe Ediciones Musicales, SA, also known as Orbemusa.  A significant investment was made to this portion of the company, through the development of a two-story building connected to the company’s factory. The ground floor housed depositing materials, the industrial guillotine, and photolithography. In the second story, the company housed the lithographic machines, development, plate burner, and covers assembly.

Another of the firm's production departments was the duplication of cartridges and cassettes. Mr. César Roldán, knowing the importance of being up-to-date with the advances of the industry, invested capital in the purchase of modern machinery and duplicators for their manufacture, whose services they used for their own purposes and for third-party productions.

There were many well-known groups and soloists that came through Discomoda, such as La Billo’s Caracas Boys with maestro Billo Frometa, Raquel Castaños, Oscar Santana, Victor Pinero, who later joined the Renato Capriles orchestra, Los Melodicos; Enrique Lafontaine, Andres Cisneros, Pancho Prim, El Joven Calzadilla, El Combo Gigante, Anselmo Lopez, Eneas Perdomo, Angel Custodio Loyola, Los Antaños del Estadium, La Tremenda de Jose Silva, Jacinto Perez, Nelson y sus Estrellas, Los Junior Squad, Ray Perez and Los Kenya, Los Megatones de Lucho, directed by Luis Gonzalez; Orlando y su Combo by Orlando Penaranda, among others.

On May 19, 1988, after leaving a clinic where he had been hospitalized for health problems, Mr. César Roldán, creator of Discomoda, died. His physical departure left a deep void in the recording industry media, of which he had been one of its pioneers. The companies would be in charge of their children: Wolfgang, Dwight, César, Wilfredo, Harry, and Ali Roldán, with the full authorization of his wife and owner, Elena de Roldán, who passed away on November 16, 2014. Currently, Discomoda is being managed and directed by Wolfgang Roldán for the Latin America market and Dwight Roldán for the United States market.

Discomoda, like other large companies, has made an important contribution to national art, recording a rich history represented in different trends and in different periods of national and international music, which has been preserved for the world musical memory through its rich catalogue. Today, Discomoda continues its legacy as one of the earliest Venezuelan record labels, with a rich national and international musical history for Venezuelans. Discomoda continues to be the oldest family-owned record label of Venezuela.