Nicaragua: Homage to 9/11 on the Bus to Granada



Volcán Mombacho, Granada (photo: Bernard Gordillo)

I got on the bus last Saturday and headed for Granada some 45 minutes south of Managua. En route a young guy with a small guitar in hand gets on. He was there, no doubt, to make a little money off the passengers by singing some tunes.

At that point I had few expectations as to what he might sing.

A Nicaraguan folksong? A classic harking back to the ’79 Revolution? A Michael Jackson cover?

It was anyone’s guess.

All of a sudden he launches into a song about 9/11 (in Spanish, of course).

Wow, I thought to myself.

The words were melancholy—they told of how it felt to be in Manhattan on that fateful day. The young singer on the bus was really feeling it, he was conveying the message beautifully.

Yet the accompaniment was not sad or melancholy, on the contrary, it was upbeat. So cool, I thought.

And just as I was about to settle into a song I’d never heard before in my life, hoping it wouldn’t end, he seamlessly transitions into a tune with a distinct Calypso flavor.

I don’t remember the words to that one because I was struck by the Calypso accompaniment. It led me to wonder how such music simply didn’t exist as part of Nicaraguan culture. Which then made me think that he may not have been from around the area we picked him up to begin with.

From the time he got on the bus until he disappeared, it took a total of 15 minutes, tops. And in those few minutes, the entire bus was treated to something utterly new and unexpected, something other worldly.

[N.B. This is not an official Department of State website or blog. The views and information presented are my own and do not represent the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State.]

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