Troubadours

Troubadours presents a musical performance by the Nicaraguan folk singing group, Camayoc, which means "messenger" in Nahuatl, the language of ancient indigenous people in Central America. Groupo Camayoc taped this performance with Julia Lesage and Chuck Kleinhans outdoors in Estelí, Nicaragua, in September 1987. They play both their own songs and those of Carlos Mejía Godoy and Pablo Milanés.

00:00Copy video clip URL Black.

00:16Copy video clip URL Opening: Troubadors. El Groupo Camayoc sings a patriotic song over views of rural Nicaragua in Estelí, September 1987.

02:45Copy video clip URL One member explains the group’s origins in 1981. “We tried to reflect our military experiences in song, so that people would understand what the recruits have been going through. Our songs try to convey the thousands of things that soldiers felt and faced.” At the time, the group was a “wartime cultural brigade,” which performed at the war front and coffee harvests. After the war, the group reunited.

06:15Copy video clip URL The group performs “How Nice it Would Be…” while an English translation scrolls across the screen. The song depicts the experiences of Sandinista troops: “Drinking from a cold stream/tastes like cold soda pop.”

10:41Copy video clip URL The members of El Groupo Camayoc introduce themselves. First is Andres Ramos Cueva, the group’s manager. Marvin Rodriguez Sanchez, the musical director, is next. Both men grew up in Estelí and dedicate most of their time to music. Francisco Rodriguez Salinas, head of percussion, grew up in Nuevo Segovia.

12:07Copy video clip URL The three guitarists play an instrumental piece together.

15:28Copy video clip URL Rudolfo Benavides Pilcher, another member of the group, introduces himself. He recently got out of the army, and now works as a graphic designer for the Ministry of Production in addition to teaching. Lenin Lopez Ardon has the same job at the Ministry of Production and is currently finishing high school. Benavides Pilcher says he’s a bachelor, not tied down, but he’s looking forward to the day that he is.

16:48Copy video clip URL The group performs a love song called “Yolanda” from the branches of a tree while an English translation appears onscreen.

21:52Copy video clip URL The group performs a song about Nicaragua called “I’m From a Poor Country,” also accompanied by English onscreen translation.

25:18Copy video clip URL The group performs another song about Nicaragua: “Victorious Nicaragua Can’t Be Sold or Beaten.”

29:42Copy video clip URL “We hope our music can express all that’s inside the region, all that’s inside the heart of Nicaragua,” Ramos Juela says. The other group members take turns talking about the importance of music to their cause. “Song allows us to reach many different sectors of society,” Benavides Pilcher explains.

31:15Copy video clip URL The group performs “Commonfolk Heroes.”

35:11Copy video clip URL The group performs “The Recruit’s Sombrero.”

39:38Copy video clip URL The group performs “The Brief Space In Which You Are Not Here.”

43:06Copy video clip URL The group performs “Trenches” over scenes of young soldiers. Toward the end of the song, the camera cuts to a live audience.

49:17Copy video clip URL End credits.

49:38Copy video clip URL End of tape.

 

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