Norma Helena Returns to the Stage with a Love Song for Nicaragua

The concert revisited the best-known songs of Nicaragua’s regions, in homage to the work and legacy of the great composers.

Katia Cardenal Norma Helena Gadea, Carlos Mejía Gody, Carlos Emilio “Frijol” Guillén and Luis Enrique Mejía Godoy.

By Claudia Tijerino (Confidencial/Niu)

HAVANA TIMES – Dressed in red, smiling and to a chorus of Tino Lopez Guerra’s “Nicaragua Mia.” Norma Helena Gadea made her reappearance onstage, after a month in an intensive care unit. She was accompanied by Carlos and Enrique Mejia Godoy, Carlos Emilio “Bean” Guillen, Katia Cardenal, Juan Solorzano and Luis Pastor.

The concert revisited all of the best-known songs from Nicaragua’s different regions, in homage to the work and legacy of the great Nicaraguan composers who’ve influenced the career of each performer. Among those remembered were Camilo Zapata, Erwin Kruger, Salvador Cardenal, Tino Lopez Guerra, Jorge Isaac Carballo, Carlos Mejia, Victor M. Leiva, Justo Santos, Otto de la Rocha and Felipe Urrutia.

Katia Cardenal, Norma Helena Gadea, Carlos Mejía Godoy

“We came tonight to offer Nicaragua our declaration of love. It’s a pleasure for me to be able to be here, revived, singing for all of you tonight,” stated Norma Helena to enthusiastic applause from the public who totally filled the Ruben Dario National Theater for this concert. Following those words, Norma sang a composition from Nicaraguan Otto de la Rocha, titled simply “Una cancion” [“A song”].  De la Rocha turned 84 on August 23, with a career that spans several generations with his music and radio shows.

Little by little, each performer recalled with anecdotes the themes that marked their lives in an artistic sense. Katia Cardenal, for example, told how the first song that she learned was “Flower of my hill” [“Flor de mi Colina”] by Camilo Zapata. She also noted that the famous duo she was part of for many years, Duo Guardabarranco, was born when Salvador Cardenal heard her singing this.

Luis Enrique Mejía Godoy

The concert coincided with the 37th anniversary of the National Literacy Crusade, the scene of some of the best-known songs of Duo Guardabarranco and of Carlos and Luis Enrique Mejia, who would go out to sing to the student brigades in the Nicaraguan mountains.

Luis Pastor, who produced and directed this concert, also recalled his birthplace of Jinotega, to which he dedicated his first song, in homage to all the regional music of Nicaragua.

The concert included the participation of six performers who represented four generations of national music.

Photos: Claudia Tijerino