Mike Peters

Dancing at the end of the concert.

On Saturday May 31st, we had the privilege of hearing a private concert just for us by a band called Guitarra de Madera Azul, a Nicaraguan band. There music is Trova, or revolutionary protest music. The drummer did not come but Luis, the guitarist, and the singer, Marta, is a beautiful, strong woman, with the voice to match. She and Luis are married and have a seven-year-old daughter named April. They brought her with them and she started off the set by singing to the strum of her fathers´ guitar. April, or Breezes of April, her stage name, shocked us with her beautiful voice and her confidence, singing in front of an intimate group of complete strangers, I can not imagine the difficulty, but she was amazing.

The first song she sang was a beautiful song from a cartoon here in Nicaragua about friendship. I looked back at the group to see everyone´s reaction to this big voice coming from such a small package. I noticed Reverend Ann crying, later when we reflected on the performance she said that, ¨Being a mother I know the pride you feel of your children and while listening to April sing she felt consumed with emotion knowing her parents feel that pride, and knowing the situation they live in, we can only hope that she gets all the opportunity she deserves.¨

April then sang a song in English that she learned called Zombie by the Cranberries. This song was written about the Irish revolution, as a reaction to the IRA and British Government affecting the Irish people.

The lyrics are;

Another head hangs lowly,
Child is slowly taken.
And the violence caused such silence,
Who are we mistaken?

But you see, it's not me, it's not my family.
In your head, in your head they are fighting,
With their tanks and their bombs,
And their bombs and their guns.
In your head, in your head, they are crying...

In your head, in your head,
Zombie, zombie, zombie,
Hey, hey, hey. What's in your head,
In your head,
Zombie, zombie, zombie?
Hey, hey, hey, hey, oh, dou, dou, dou, dou, dou...

Another mother's breakin',
Heart is taking over.
When the vi'lence causes silence,
We must be mistaken.

It's the same old theme since nineteen-sixteen.
In your head, in your head they're still fighting,
With their tanks and their bombs,
And their bombs and their guns.
In your head, in your head, they are dying...

Repeat chorus.

The fact that this song is being sung by a seven-year-old Nicaraguan girl is astonishing. These lyrics were meant as a protest to a war going on in Ireland, and here in Nicaragua, only about 20 or so years ago, the same thing was happening. I know April was not around for that, and I also was too young to know what was happening here, but her parents were. The Contra War affected their lives dramatically. The fact that they are instilling those ideas of standing up for yourself and your country and what you believe, I think is terrific. If a seven-year-old can tell us that war is not the answer, why then are we still living in a world without peace?

I had the pleasure of sitting in the front, directly in front of Luis- so I got to see him play guitar up close- he is so talented and I love watching people play, the way guitarist move their fingers so nimbly across the neck, to me is fascinating. Marta has such and amazing voice, it´s hard to describe in works, but it is clear where April got her pipes. The first song Marta sang was an ´´unofficial´´ Nicaraguan Song, and even through I could not understand the lyrics because they were in Spanish, it still had an amazing power of me that brought me to tears. The song I believe was about the Nicaraguan people beginning to come together to protest the war and being taken advantage of.

Marta then taught us the chorus to the next song so we could sing along, the lyrics had hand motions to go along with. It was a very fun song, it took us some time to get the words down right, but we laughed a lot trying.

There was one song about a woman´s body and her features, and as part of Nicaraguan tradition she stopped and explained the verses between each. Before the part about women´s, Luis timidly gave us an explanation that a friend of a friend gave him on why men tend to look at a woman´s chest instead of her eyes. He said, ´That in fact men are not looking at your breasts, they are simply trying to see your heart.´ I thought that was hilarious, if I was a guy I would probably use that line all the time.

At the end of the show they showed us another tradition, similar to one we have in the U.S., which is to stand in a circle an one at a time go in the middle, show us your moves, an then choose someone to switch with, until everyone has gone or the song is over- I see this as evidence that we are not all that different to people who live in 3rd world countries, like people assume. We are all human and we all dance to the beat of the drum. April started us off with a Beyonce booty shake- little girls honestly don´t get any cuter then her.

I was so inspired to write an article about this part of our journey because I love music- especially 1960´s protest music, and to hear the Nicaraguan revolutionary music, although it physically sounds different, it is emotionally the same. All we want is peace and love for all people on earth.