LEWISTON, Idaho – Edgar Galeano, an enrollment specialist in College Assistant Migrant Program at Lewis-Clark State College, will soon know if he’s part of a Grammy-winning album.
Galeano wrote one of the songs on the music group Tierra Adentro’s album, called Aguije. The album is one of five nominated for the Latin Grammy’s Folk Album of the Year.
Galeano wrote and originally recorded the song “Pájaro Choguy” more than a decade ago. The song is a Paraguayan folk tale about a boy who turns into a bluebird. In the tale, the boy climbs high in a tree, but when he is called by his mother, he falls out of the tree and dies. However, he transforms into a bluebird who flies around happily.
When working on its new album, Tierra Adentro, a five-man South American folkloric band that pays homage to Paraguayan music, reached out to Galeano and asked if they could re-record it while arraigning some of the music.
“Pájaro Choguy” wound up being the fourth song on the album, which has drawn much acclaim. The Latin Grammy winners will be announced on Nov. 19.
Galeano said his recording of the song is more of a vocal ballad than folk, which is tailored to his voice. He said the Spanish version written by Edmundo Breer of Argentina was also well received in the Hispanic community.
Tierra Adento’s version has more of an Andean style with a symphony sound. It is heavy on instruments at both the start and the end with a mix of piano, violin and guitars. The song, Galeano describes, is a mix of original polka crescendo.
Galeano, who also holds a Communication Arts degree from LC State, regularly wrote and performed music while living in Paraguay and continued to do so after he moved to the United States. He said most music in Paraguay is written and performed in Spanish and Guarani, both official languages in the country. About 90 percent of the country speaks Guarani, which is described as a romantic and rich language with a deep history. Because it was the main language used where Galeano grew up, he often wrote and performed songs in Guarani, including “Pájaro Choguy.”
“Some people in Paraguay only know folk lore songs in Spanish so that’s why I wanted new versions in our ancestral language,” Galeano said.
When he translates the words, he also arranges the music so that it has a Guaranian feel to it.
Galeano put out nine albums, most containing songs that he wrote, and regularly performed them in Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina, and then later in the U.S. He said he gave up performing about 10 years ago, but continues to write music. He said he will write a song and record it with his vocals, and then send the recordings to artists to see if they would be interested in performing it and sharing the royalties.
Galeano has been successful as a song writer. He won an American Song Writing Award in Las Vegas in the World Music category and also has been nominated three times for Hollywood in Music in Media Awards, including Best Song. He also was a semifinalist in a United Kingdom song writing contest and finished second at a contest in Nashville.
Galeano, who is a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and the Latin Grammy Academy said he doesn’t have any big plans for Nov. 19 other than to watch the Miami ceremony live on Univision TV.
“The most prestigious music award in this country is the Grammy so it is quite an honor,” Galeano said.
Galeano said the album has a great shot at earning a Grammy nomination for Best World Music Album as well. Those 2020 nominations will be announced on Nov. 24.
In addition to writing music, Galeano has published several books in both Paraguay and the U.S.
Galeano’s wife, Marlowe Daly-Galeano, is an English professor at LC State. They are the parents of twins, Ani and Max Galeano.
Listen: Tierra Adentro’s performance of Pajaro Choguy on YouTube