Music in Nicaragua, Artists, Songs

The music of Nicaragua, like much of the country’s culture, has been greatly influenced by its history. Modern day music is a mixture of Spanish and traditional native Indian musical instruments and styles. Local musicians make frequent use of the marimba and other musical instruments that are common in the country.

The main difference between the music of Nicaragua and that of other Central American countries is the way that the marimba is used. It is played by a sitting performer who holds the instrument on his knees instead of resting it on a stand. Most of the marimbas in Nicaragua are made with hardwood plates which are placed over either bamboo or metal tubes that vary in length to produce different tones. They can be played with either two or four hammers. The marimba player is usually accompanied by a bass fiddle, a guitar and a guitarrilla.

In general, the music that Nicaraguans listen to is quite varied. They enjoy Cuban, Mexican, Brazillian and Panamanian musicians as well as music from both Europe and the United States. Locally there are quite a few prominent musicians who have made a name for themselves, such as Salvador Cardenal, Luis Enrique Mejia Godoy and Camilo Zapata.

There is also a Garifuna community which is very popular for its music. Many tourists seek them out to enjoy their rich, distinctive tunes. Besides this, there are certain indigenous theater groups who choose to incorporate music and dance in their performances, adding a vibrant and fun element. If you are not that interested in theatre but would still like to enjoy some local music or learn the sensual dances that the people employ, make sure you visit during May for the Palo de Mayo festival. Nicaragua is a musical country with a lot to offer. Make sure that you get to enjoy at least a little of the local music talent while you make your way around the country.

back to Culture