I first met Moises Gadea in 1998, at an outdoor café concert in Managua.
I was out with my fellow Peace Corps trainees and Moises was drinking beer between sets; he was playing in a band called IXMANA, which mixed traditional Nicaraguan rhythms with newer, progressive songwriting.
Over the years, as his career has flourished and taken him around the world he stays true to his unique blend of traditional and new music.
Moises Gadea, a modern trovador or singer/songwriter, from Managua, was once declared “Songwriter of the Year” by the Nicaraguan National Assembly, is finally coming to Colorado, headlining several unique cultural events during an upcoming U.S. mini-tour.
Gadea’s first mile-high performance is Saturday, September 8, 2012, at the Nomad Theater in Boulder, at “A Night in Nicaragua” (tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door), a celebration of Nicaraguan culture and also a fundraiser for Empowerment International (EI), a Colorado-based non-profit organization which operates a tutoring center, photography club and other programs for schoolchildren and their families in Nicaragua.
“Each ticket sold,” Director Kathy Adams says, “will enable EI to fully support, with their myriad of programs, a child in school for a month.”
Gadea will perform at a second event on Saturday, September 15, at Havana Manor in Longmont—also a fundraiser for EI.
At both events, in addition to live music, there will be a silent auction and raffles for high-quality, hand-crafted Nicaraguan chocolate, coffee, ceramics, hammocks, cigars and framed prints from Empowerment International’s Photography Club for children.
This is his first trip to Colorado; he will be performing songs from his latest CD, Colección, a greatest hits album. At the Nomad Theater event, Gadea will be accompanied by local musicians Sean Gaughan and Michael Mitchell, of Big Paddy, a popular Colorado-based Irish band.
Gadea’s current hit, “Inmigrante” in the video below, is the title track to the documentary film, Y Me Fui, about migrant workers.
“Inmigrante” is about Central American immigration issues, about living far from one’s family while keeping one’s hopes and dreams alive—but the song speaks to a wider community at the same time. The same goes for Gadea’s other songs about social justice and about the struggles and dreams of children in Nicaragua.
“No tengo amiguitos,” sings the narrator of the song, Miguelito, “juego en las esquinas/a capear los carros y a salvar mi vida/ Salgo en mañanita…/Vendo mi agua elada para continuar viviendo…Quiero ir a la escuela, poder aprender…ser un navegante de un barco velero/ viajar por el mundo, no tener fronteras.”
“I have no friends, I play in the street corners/ dodging cars to save my life/I leave in the early morning…/I sell bags of cold water to keep living…I want to go to school, to be able to learn…to be the captain of a sailboat/ to travel around the world, without borders.” (Translation by Alison Iwaskow & Joshua Berman)
About Empowerment International
Empowerment International works with children and their families in two impoverished communities in Nicaragua: one an urban slum outside of the colonial city of Granada, the other an isolated rural farming community in the state of Masaya. Most families live on less than two dollar per day and most adults have a third-grade-level education or less. For them, the need for their children to contribute to the family income outweighs the long-term benefits of education. In short, education is not a priority.
EI works to overcome this neglect of elementary education by supporting children’s education materially and, most importantly, by fostering and encouraging a new attitude among families toward education. The strategy is to build a generation of empowered community members who value education and who, in turn, will lead the next generation to achieve even higher goals. The approach is holistic as well as community-based, with locally hired staff, resources and training.
Joshua Berman is the author of Moon Nicaragua and is also a Spanish teacher and Denver Post columnist. He is helping to organize the September 8th event in Boulder. To find out more about Joshua, visit his website.
Editor: Bryonie Wise
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