Isabel Umanzor recently held a release party at for her original CD “Siete Días” at Salsa Matteo’s in Bethany Beach. Umanzor has been working on this, her second CD, for almost two years, recording it at the AMI Seagull Studios at Salisbury University in Salisbury, Md. The songs are all original and have a personal and social theme.
Umanzor has also been playing at Salsa Matteo’s in Bethany Beach for four summers; so, she said, it seemed a natural fit to release the CD there. The release party was a great success, according to Umanzor, with people from all over coming to enjoy the music and atmosphere. She played for about two hours, signed posters and sold copies of her CD.
Umanzor, a Spanish teacher by trade, moved to the United States from her native Chile in 2001. She had always loved music and had a fondness and talent for it, inherited from her father.
In Chile, Umanzor grew up under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, smothered by the injustice of the times, such as lack of information due to government-run media, literary and artistic censorship; and constant loss of electricity. According to Umanzor, it was during one of those infamous electrical outages that she first heard sounds of democracy, out of a secretly broadcast station coming from a battery-operated radio.
Many people who wanted change in Chile at that time took refuge in churches, and Umanzor found herself singing in church choirs at the age of 11. She was part of a folk group called “Llacolen,” or “Be Peaceful,” participating in communal festivals, and at 15 “began as a soloist or with groups of friends in musical encounters called ‘Penas,’ that were openly a cultural instant in opposition of the military regime.”
Umanzor continued signing until college, where she studied Spanish language education. She received her degree and taught for six years, until the death of her father. In 2001, she moved to the U.S., for a new life, and singing eventually found itself back into her heart again.
Since moving to the area, she has performed at the Millsboro Latino Festival and at the Delmarva Chicken Festival. She played at the University of Delaware with the group Katari. She has appeared on WDEL in Wilmington and on public radio in Salisbury, Md.
Throughout all this, she never lost touch with her roots and her focus on social justice and equality. In the spring of 2006, she took part in “Voices Without Borders” in Georgetown, to support the rights of all immigrants. She has also played steady gigs at restaurants and has been faithfully working on this new CD. A versatile artist in media beyond music, Umanzor’s own artwork is on the CD’s cover.
Umanzor’s sound is her own, but her music has strong influences from Cuban ballads, from her idols – Silvio Rodriguez, Pablo Milanes, Luis Eduardo Aute – and from other Latin American folkloric styles. But no matter the style or influence, her music transcends language and finds its way into the hearts of listeners.
“For this CD, all the lyrics have been translated into English,” said Umanzor. “Sometimes people say they like it but they wish they could understand what I am saying, but other times, they feel like understand what I am saying just by how I am singing.”
For more information and to listen to Umanzor’s music, visit www.isabelumanzor.com online. CDs are available online, at cdbaby.com, http://cdbaby.com/cd/isabelumanzor. For Umanzor’s booking and management information, contact Chakabel Productions, P.O. Box 3333, (302) 539.7380 or (302) 430.1710 (Español) or at firstname.lastname@example.org.