Nicaragua’s most famous musician, Luis Enrique, was honoured in a music festival in the Nicaraguan capital this weekend.
He only sings in Spanish, so I hadn’t heard of him before I left the UK. Conveniently though, I didn't need to look up his life story, as he tells it himself in the salsa hit Biografía (Biography – it should be 'Autobiography' if you ask me, but he didn’t). The chorus sings of how, because he fled the Nicaraguan Civil War and moved to Miami when he was 15 years old, “I’m neither from there nor here”. And that’s why I like him.
After spending over a decade away from ‘home’ myself, I know the feeling. Not that I’m not from England, I very much am. But I often wonder how long it will take before people stop asking where I’m from – ie, before I’m not constantly reminded that I’m not from here. Ten years into my study, the conclusion I’ve come to is that as long as I live in Latin America and have blue eyes, it’s never going to go away.
So I sang along with gusto on Saturday night. Me and Luis, we get each other. Sadly not so much that he had time to sign my shirt, but hey, we’re also both busy professionals.
In his thank you speech he mentioned how he owes his success to the people of Puerto Rico, who gave him his first break, and without whom Nicaragua wouldn’t have invited him back for this award.
Again, I get you, bro. As thousands of Nicaraguans emigrate each year in search of making their fortunes, I keep heading back to Nicaragua to earn mine. My twin professions of translator and travel writer work fine when I’m in foreign countries but seem to stall when I’m back in London and get distracted with more reliable (read: boring) work.
So while I might never be ‘from’ Nicaragua, I was honoured to be able to pay my respects to its crown prince.
Thoughts and anecdotes from here and there.