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21 Days of Musica Latina: Nicaragua

Courtesy of the artist

Editor's Note: To commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month this year, World Cafe is going on a musical tour of Latin America. Every weekday from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, we'll spotlight the music of a different Latin American country with a curated playlist of essential tracks, fresh voices and wild cards.

There's a gentleness to much of the music in today's installment of our 21 Days of Musica Latina project.

Nicaragua's place in the nueva canción movement is top of mind here. Acts like Dúo Guardabarranco, comprising siblings Katia and Salvador Cardenal, added their own socially conscious lyricism to the musical movement that swept through Central America in the '80s. There's also the work of Carlos Mejía Godoy, whose songs championed the Sandinistas and rallied rural Nicaraguans to stand up to the Somoza dictatorship.

Even the contemporary offerings have a smooth, slinky vibe to them. The mix includes songs from producer and songwriter Rigoazulado, Nicaraguan-American singer HYRA and folk singer Ceshia Ubau.

There are also two surprising additions to the mix that may require some explaining: "Se a Cabo" from Santana's Abraxas and Drake's "Massive." Both of those songs are indebted to the work of Nicaraguan artists. Percussionist José Areas wrote the Santana album cut, and DJ Gordo produced the Drake hit.

Enjoy, and make sure you come back tomorrow to find out where World Cafe's headed next.

Copyright 2023 XPN

Miguel Perez
Miguel Perez is a radio producer for NPR's World Cafe, based out of WXPN in Philadelphia. Before that, he covered arts, music and culture for KERA in Dallas. He reported on everything from the rise of NFTs in the music industry to the enduring significance of gay and lesbian bars to the LGBTQ community in North Texas.