NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - A prominent Nicaraguan musician, artist, and activist will held a free concert on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University Thursday evening as part of his visit to Nacogdoches.
Luis Enrique Mejia Godoy, 74, is a household name in his native country. He’s been in political exile for more than a year due to his activism and the powerful music that sends a message against the injustice and poverty of Central America and the corrupt government in power.
Close friend Jeana Paul Ureña described Godoy as the Bob Dylan of Latin America.
“He has been working in music well over 40 years," Ureña said. "His songs are associated with many of the important movements for peace and freedom in Latin America. Today, his voice is very special as it comes to addressing a situation that is very critical in Nicaragua today.”
A SFA class of Latin America studies knew little to nothing of the noteoriety of Luis Enrique Mejia Godoy. A quick google by their professor brought up one music video after another. One protest after another. All happening over the last four decades.
Godoy chuckles when told he’s been compared to Bob Dylan, a legendary American folk artist that sang of similar concerns.
Jeana Paul Urena translates Godoy’s comment.
“He is someone he admires a lot, along with Pete Seeger and all the other musical artists who were fighters for good causes.”
The singer’s opposition to poverty and injustice is also reflected in his drawings.
Godoy’s art is heavily influenced by the pre-Colombian era and contains many faces and symbols that pay homage to indigenous cultures and folklore.
Godoy wears a black t-shirt that bears one of his drawings when visiting an SFA class on Latin American studies. It’s of a woman, a guitar and a symbol of peace.
“She has a fist like a guitar,” descirbes Urena. So, her weapon is to fight is her song."
Godoy traveled to Nacogdoches to receive a book, "Qué Tiene la Música: Canciones, Poemas y Dibujos de Luis Enrique Mejía Godoy,” presented by SFA’s LaNana Creek Press, which features a collection of Godoy’s art, poetry, and lyrics. Ureña’s husband, Dr. Juan Carlos Ureña, professor of Spanish, tasked students with selecting song lyrics and poems to accompany art produced by Godoy for the purpose of presenting him with the book.
The class members collaborated for five weeks with the LaNana Creek Press to produce 50 artistic copies of the book containing the songs and artwork, according to SFA. A commercial version of the book is also available for purchase.
A majority of the proceeds from book sales will go to families and individuals in Nicaragua who have been affected by the political unrest the nation is facing.
Godoy came to the U.S. specifically for the book visit, but he also performed in Austin before a large audience. He held a free concert for the general public on Thursday, evening at Cole Concert Hall on SFA campus.
In a few days Godoy and his wife, also a political activist, will return to the home in Costa Rica. Godoy’s children and family still live in Nicaragua where they carry on the fight for justice.