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Carlos Mejía Godoy

When the nueva canción movement became popular in Latin America, few artists combined political content and folk music forms as profoundly as Carlos Mejía Godoy. Godoy was born in 1943 in Nicaragua; his father was a popular musician and taught young Carlos and his brother Luis to play. He began his professional music career working as a “Corporito” at the Radio Corporación radio station. Daily, Godoy composed satirical topical songs about local politicians and voiced sympathy for the workers and peasants who made up the early ranks of the Sandinista revolutionary organization. In 1975 he wrote the Misa Campesina Nicaragüense Mass, which promoted liberation theology through a focus on Nicaraguan folk music. Before the revolution of 1979, the Mass was banned by the government and its first performance was shuttered by the National Guard. In the late 1970s he toured Europe and the United States but found the most success in Spain, where he became a conduit for dispensing information about the Nicaraguan situation. By the time the Somoza government had been violently removed from power in 1978, the content of Godoy’s music often involved direct instructions on how to dismantle weapons as well as guerilla fighting tactics. When the Sandinistas gained power in 1979, Godoy returned to his home country and sat on the Council of State as a representative of artists. Backed by his band, Los de Palacagüina, Godoy was chosen to represent Nicaragua in the 1980 OTI Festival. After the Sandinistas fell out of power in the 1990s, Godoy continued his career in both music and politics and was awarded myriad accolades from within Nicaragua as well as by the international Latin music recording community.