Guatemala celebrated its independence with two weeks of festivities leading up to the holiday day on September 15th. Several countries share the holiday which also marks the first day of Hispanic Heritage month in the United States which ends on October 15th. Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of Latin Americans to the United States.
The Smithsonian has several online resources and events planned for the month and I also discovered the Smithsonian Latino Center which is exclusively dedicated to Latino contributions to the United States. The interactive online exhibit Música del Pueblo is an interesting virtual tour through the diverse world of music from across Latin America.
Selena, Carlos Santana, Sammy Davis Jr. are well known Latino musical icons in the U.S., and Guatemalan born singer Gaby Moreno is another Latino singer and songwriter who is also making her mark. Moreno’s music has a jazzy, soulful sound that combines some Latin elements in her English and Spanish songs. Her most recent album, Postales, released in early September is making a big impression and has been featured on NPR and Univision.
Moreno was born and went to school in Guatemala City but moved to Los Angeles at age 17 to pursue her singing career. After moving to Los Angeles she sang in musicals and movie soundtracks and co-wrote the theme song for the TV show Parks and Recreation which was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Theme song. She also won the John Lennon song writing contest in 2006. So far Gaby has released four albums and is currently touring Latin America and Europe. Although she may not be a household name, Gaby Moreno seems to be poised to make a big contribution to Latino heritage and make her home country proud.
Check out her catchy and charming video Ave que Emigra:
Or her performance at the Google offices where she chats with some of her fans in Guatemala and Mexico on Google Hangout: