Centroamericanto brings best of Central American music to Austin

Sara Curruchich - by Eny Roland
Mayan singer-songwriter Sara Curruchich to perform at Centroamericanto Fest 2016. Photo by Eny Roland

In 2011, local singer-songwriter Mauricio Callejas brought the Centroamericanto music festival from El Salvador to Austin. What began as a gathering of singer-songwriters in Central America has now grown into an annual Austin festival.

On Sept. 3, the one-day festival will feature emerging and established artists as well as a small business and regional food fair at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. Rising Guatemalan singer-songwriter Sara Curruchich, who sings both in Spanish and a Mayan language called Kaqchikel, is among the featured artists.

Other performers include Guatemalan multi-instrumentalist Chejo Enríquez, Houston-based Nicaraguan urban artist Mister Meli, and Costa Rican duo Jeana and Juan Carlos Ureña who blend Central American folk with various musical influences. New Austin band Piano Sur, which is made up of Central and South American artists, will also be featured. They’ll present a special tribute to the late Honduran singer-songwriter Guillermo Anderson.

Doors open at 6 p.m., and tickets cost $20. Visit cacfest.com for more details.

Mister Meli will perform at the upcoming Centroamericanto festival. Photo contributed by Mister Meli
Mister Meli will perform at the upcoming Centroamericanto festival. Photo contributed by Mister Meli

CentroAmericanto Fest brings Central American music to Austin

Salvadoran singer/ songwriter Mauricio Callejas Photo by Marlon Sorto / Ahora Si
CentroAmericanto founder Mauricio Callejas
Photo by Marlon Sorto / Ahora Sí

Central American music doesn’t dominate in Austin the way it does in other U.S. cities, but local singer/songwriter Mauricio Callejas has worked for years to make it more accessible in the area with a Central American music festival he founded called CentroAmericanto.

On Sept. 12, the one-day festival at the Scottish Rite Theater, will feature legendary Nicaraguan singer/songwriter Luis Enrique Mejía Godoy. “His catalog of socially conscious songs is indispensable (in order) to understand the music history of Nicaragua,” festival organizers said of Godoy in a news release. Joining Godoy on the lineup is Nicaraguan musician, composer and producer Luis Pastor Gonzalez Vega, who is known as “Luis Pastor.”

Other performers include the dance company Folklore and Rhythms of Panama, Costa Rican piano virtuoso Esteban Alvarez, songwriters Jeana and Juan Carlos Ureña from Costa Rica and Callejas, who is originally from El Salvador.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and tickets cost $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Visit cacfest.com for more details.