Magical Sounds of Guardabarranco

The national bird of Nicaragua is the Turquoise-brown Motmot (Eumomota superciliosa) or Guardabarranco. This stunning bird species is known for its remarkable coloring and habits. There is little doubt as to why a Nicaraguan music duo decided to name themselves after this renowned bird. This is the story of Guardabarranco.

At the time when Anastasio Somoza’s dictatorship was brought to its knees by the rebels, Salvador Cardenal was a nineteen year old student. During the revolution he volunteered to work as a teacher in the rural areas of Nicaragua, and it was during this time that Salvador Cardenal took a guitar in his hands and started to compose his own songs, developing his skill as a talented songwriter. Music was in the Cardenal blood, as Salvadors’ grandfather was a composer, his mother a songwriter and his father created handmade guitars for living. But he was completely unaware that his sister was born with a breathtaking vocal talent.

Katia Cardenal and Salvador started singing and writing songs together and before long, Guardabarranco was born in 1980. Their songs tell of personal freedom and life, and just as their national bird should not be caged, their songs encourage people to spread their own wings and explore their world. The Nicaraguan public loved the duo, and their fan base grew almost overnight. They performed in refugee camps, schools, small rural villages, factories and theatres, and managed to produce their first album in 1982. Four more albums followed and by 1996, Katia was also concentrating on a solo career, which has been very successful. They have toured the world and have performed with famous personalities such as Pablo Milanes, Silvio Rodriguez, Melissa Etheridge, Jackson Brown and Bruce Cockburn, to name but a few. The duo released their first English song in 2001 and their album, ‘Verdadero Pan’ was released in 2003.

Guardabarranco has had a great influence on the music industry in Nicaragua and they are touching lives across the world. With songs of hope, encouragement and understanding, their music relates to various different situations and everyday struggles that many are working to overcome. And having a song in their hearts that can ease the hard days and praise their accomplishments, is exactly what their fans are looking for.