Malpaís, A Guanacastecan Party

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The band Malpaís returned home Friday to wrap up the National University in Nicoya’s weeklong student festival, “Semana U,” with a chorus of hundreds joining in a traditional Guanacastecan rallying cry.

For more than three hours the kiosk in Recaredo Briceño Park, in the city’s center, served as a stage, although in the case of Malpaís, it was more like a pedestal. And it should be: The band’s music plays with, dances with and yearns for the land of Guanacaste and its people.

The night began calmly with the band Mechas at 7 p.m. The park’s plaza slowly filled with people as hits like “Sola” and “Hasta que vuelva a amanecer” animated the growing crowd.

Jorge Zumbado, Mechas.

Most of the audience remained seated. Some families brought their own chairs and beers, and a group of kids played football in the farthest part of the kiosk in front of the church.

But everyone stood up as Iván Rodríguez began playing the first notes on his violin. People flocked to the front of the kiosk to feel the music from as close as possible, and to shout, dance, take pictures or simply close their eyes and be carried away by the melodies.

Iván Rodríguez, violinist and mandolin player.

Bassist Jaime Gamboa reminded Nicoya that the current location of Banco Nacional was his patio, and the presence of his brother Fidel “will never leave the stage here.” He then heated up the night more by introducing the song “El barrio de los jazmines,” which pays tribute to “all of the families who struggle for a better life.”

Jaime Gamboa, bassist.

The band lit up the park with recent hits like “Retratos de un país inédito” and “La calle de la lluvia,” along with older compositions like “Son Inú” and “Como un pájaro.”

The crowd burst into a massive Guanacastecan rallying cry when Manuel Obregón pounded on the marimba. Iván Rodríguez emulated the chorus of voices on his violin, stirring the crowd even more. Near the end of the night, Malpaís invited onstage renowned marimba player Abel Guadamuz, of Los de la Bajura, who shined on several improvisations.

Manuel Obregón, pianist.

Songs like “La coyolera” are not to be missed when Malpaís visits the province. Fans sang along while waving traditional Guanacastecan handkerchiefs and tapping their feet in traditional dance steps.

Without a doubt, Malpaís demonstrated that their visits to Nicoya are a family affair. Malpaís is not just a group of musicians – Malpaís is a genuine Guanacastecan party.