As much as I hate airports, I was psyched about the treatment we received the moment we stepped off the plane in Managua, Nicaragua’s capital.  People working with the conference picked us up and did everything possible to receive the best treatment.  They sped our passing through airport security and customs.  After the uncomfortable lines and waiting at Miami and Boston airports, this felt like a wonderful welcome.  Upon arriving at the hotel where the conference would take place, Gabriel Traversari, the founder and president of the conference, gave us a very personal and warm welcome.  He mentioned he was really excited and honored that Berklee and LAMBA had a presence in this nascent project.

The first thing on the itinerary was a press conference to announce the official start of the event.  Mr. Traversari presented his numerous guests and talked about his excitement of bringing unity to a straining and fragmented music industry in Central America.  He thinks Central America should focus on working as one cooperative unit to foster the development of its artists and the rich culture of their art.

The way he spoke so vehemently about his purpose really made us have faith in his vision, but the conference had a poignant turn when three small children of very, very limited economic resources had an impromptu singing performance.  These kids had a talent you wouldn’t believe.  They sang in counterpoint and with a sustained vibrato that would be enviable by many.  The conference room cheered wildly after they finished their two songs, and you could see some people get teary-eyed.  It was quite inspiring to see talent and wide recognition have nothing to do with the money you have.  It all comes down to how determined you are to catch that dream.

The day closed with a gala showcasing national artists who played a variety of genres.  Bouncing off the walls of the Teatro Nacional Rubén Darío, jazz and rock grooves were heard, but always in a combination with the country’s traditional sounds.  Many others played folkloric music as well.  We were impressed with the richness in variety of the music in this country.

Day 1 was both an exciting start to the event and a very warm welcome.  We are very thankful for the opportunity to be here.

Nicols Marielarena
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