Arts, Culture & Media

This Grammy-nominated band from Nicaragua is keeping it in the family

La Cuneta.jpg

Credit:

lacunetasonmachin.com

In the early 1980s, when the Sandinistas took power in Nicaragua, this was the music you’d hear on the radio.

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Carlos Mejía Godoy y Los de Palacagüina. Carlos and his brother, Luis Enrique Mejía Godoy, were the leading voices of the Nueva Canción movement in Nicaragua during the Sandinista revolution. 

Meanwhile, this is what’s popular in Nicaragua today.

This is La Cuneta Son Machín, also known as La Cuneta. Three of the members are children of the Mejía Godoy clan. They started playing in 2009 on the sidewalk, in front of lead singer Carlos Guillén’s house.

The band’s new album is called Mondongo. Guillén says La Cuneta’s songs may not be as overtly political as their parents’ music, but the spirit is there. "As a child I remember listening always to the music of Carlos y Luis Enrique Mejía Godoy and other kind of music related to this movement. So there’s a big influence, not only as a musician but as ideological thinking about the social movements and the social revolutions in all Latin America."

Last year, when La Cuneta was getting ready to record its album, some of the band members asked Carlos Mejia Godoy for advice. He suggested working with Greg Landau. Landau is a music producer now living in the San Francisco Bay Area, but back in the '80s he lived in Nicaragua and played music with an uncle of La Cuneta.

Landau says "They wanted to expand their sound ... what they liked is that I understood their roots, where they were coming from and I was able to create a vision for where they wanted to go and I think that was important, to try to take the project of the '80s into this era."

Luis Mejía is La Cuneta’s marimba player. He says the band often ask their parents to weigh in on their songs. "It’s nice listening from them, that what we do is like the new way of doing what they have done in the '70s and the '80s. So that’s also like a green light to us, like ‘aprobado’, like they approve."

And there's no doubt their parents would approved that with Modongo's release, La Cuneta has been nominated for a Grammy Award