Roaming the streets of Guatemala City

Guatemala City
Guatemala City by johanohrling.

If you’re looking for the authentic sounds, colors and flavor of Guatemala City look no further than the Centro Histórico (Historic Downtown) or Centro Histérico (Hysteric Center) as Miss Trudy calls it; criadero de artistas she also claims. Honest, the Centro Histórico in zone 1 is where the true identity of Guatemala City hides.

Thousands of miles away, in a city that in most ways couldn’t be more different than San Francisco, music struggles to survive. Guatemala City is an incredible place, but it faced with challenges of overcoming violence, poverty and an extremely polarized class structure. There are very few spaces that support live music and it is virtually impossible to make even a modest living as a musician. So there is a bit of irony in an Oakland born musician (a city 10 minutes away from San Francisco) deciding to make Guatemala City his home. Or perhaps, irony has nothing to do with this. Perhaps this is a rare instance where a musician’s relationship with his music has no room for thought about money or “success”.

Chris Dobel, better known as El Gringo Loco (or more recently EL Gringo Moko), at first glance comes off as a street hardened gypsy straight out of a Guy Ritchie film. His songs however show the complexity and genius that live inside of his hardened shell. His songs tackle themes such as love, friendship, sex, addiction, betrayal, the human condition in such an honest and brutal way one can’t help but feel a sense of refreshing empathy.

Equipped with his hand made kazoo, Chris’ voice is raw and pure, echoing the hardship of the stories in his lyrics in a way that allows you to see beauty in the hard truth that life can be difficult. (source: unHEARDworld)

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