Musicians from León in Nicaragua to perform in Oxford

Published: Wednesday, 18th April 2018

Two musicians from Oxford’s twin city, León will be performing across Oxford from Wednesday 18 April until Wednesday 2 May.

The pair have been invited by The Oxford León Association and Trust (OLAT), to visit Oxford and increase our cultural links with our Nicaraguan twin city.

The registered charity has been raising funds for development projects in León since the twinning links were formalised in 1986, such as providing clean drinking water, equipment for primary schools and support for victims of domestic violence. Since 2016, it has begun to explore more cultural exchanges between the cities, including the school exchange project Song de Raiz.

The musicians are Franklin Martinez, the son of Pedro Pablo Martinez; popularly known as "El Guadalupe", one of Nicaragua’s most well-known composers who contributed to the original La Misa Campesina, and Luis Ernesto Jarquín Vega, an arranger, musical producer, and professor of music at UNAN University in León.

Their programme in Oxford includes:

  • Performance of La Misa Campesina
    La Misa Campesina is a Mass based on Nicaraguan folk music, and was written during the revolution in Nicaragua. It is still celebrated throughout the country. It has been performed annually in Oxford since 1988.
    It will take place on 11.30am to 12.30pm at Blackfriars, Oxford. All are welcome to attend. There will be an outgoing collection for social projects in Nicaragua.
  • Workshops for pupils in Windale, Church Cowley and Botley Primary Schools.
  • Salsa Fiesta night
    Come and have a dance at the Salsa Fiesta night, where the musicians will be performing Latin American Disco and other live music.
    The event is taking place on SSt Columba's Church. Tickets cost £6 for advance booking, and £8 on the door. Advance booking tickets available on Eventbrite.
  • Meeting with local musicians for jam sessions
  • Visiting Bristol Nicaraguan twinning group to perform
  • Performing at Rose and Crown, North Parade. Tuesday 1 May.

The visit has been part funded through £420 of crowd funding and through funding from previous Salsa nights hosted by the OLAT.

León has been twinned with Oxford since 1986. It is the second largest city in Nicaragua, has an ancient cathedral and the oldest university in Central America. In 2016, the two cities celebrated 30 years of twinning.

Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Latin America.

Paula Redway, Cultural Development Manager, said: “We are very excited to welcome these two talented musicians to Oxford and are honoured for them to share their expertise and traditions with us all.

The international links programme allows us to come together and appreciate cultures both similar and different to our own through activities such as these. I encourage anyone who is interested in Nicaraguan cultures, or who wants to hear a lively piece of music to come along.”