Spotlight On: A Series on Culture & the Arts

omar“Spotlight On” is XelaWho’s regular monthly series on all things cultural & artistic in Xela and Guatemala. This month’s topic is: The Trova Musician Omar Reyes.

There’s definitely no shortage of trova players (or Trovadores, as we say in the biz) around Xela. The thing is finding a good one. Hint: if they’re offering to wash your windshield, they may not be World Class. We wanted to find out what up wit dat trova thang, so we spoke to one of the busiest men in Trova Business, Omar Reyes…

XelaWho: When did you start playing trova?
Omar: About 6 years ago: I had phases when I’d play a lot, then I’d just stop.

X: Did you do any formal training?
O: No. We have a saying “the best trovadores are made in the street”. I learnt a lot from friends and other trova players.

X: How would you define your style?
O: I’m definitely Alternative Trova. I like to mix in pop, romantic songs and rumba. I don’t do the political stuff.

X: Do you write your own material?
O: Some. I have about 10 of my own songs. I mix them in with covers of songs by people like Elefante, Ricardo Arjona, Juanes and Auté, a Spanish Trovador.

X: Has anyone in Xela been a particular influence in your style?
O: I’d have to say Fernando Juárez. He’s probably the best musician playing in Xela these days.

X: How do you see the live music scene in Xela?
O: Compared with 6 years ago, it’s great. Back then there were hardly any places to play, but now there are all these café /bars where we can work and play to different crowds. Places like El Cuartito, you get mostly foreigners, but then places like Bari the crowd is pretty much all locals.

X: Have you recorded your songs?
O: I’ve recorded a few, but I wanted to take a break, work on my playing and singing. I’ll go back to the studio when the time is right.

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