Sound the Alarms: Oscar Isaac, Gaby Moreno Released a Song Honoring Guatemala
Stop what you’re doing for a second and watch a video that will undoubtedly make your day: king Oscar Isaac singing Guatemalan classic waltz “Luna de Xelajú” alongside singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno. The one-take video, recorded at the Palace Theater in Los Angeles, shows the two stars honoring their Guatemalan roots by singing the track as they play the guitar. The acoustic rendition is every bit as soothing as it is powerful, and as it turns out, the song has a deeper meaning for both artists.
Moreno explained that the Guatemalan waltz “Luna de Xelajú” is considered the country’s “second anthem” ever since it was composed by Paco Pérez in 1944. Translated to “The Moon of Xelajú,” it refers to the Kʼicheʼ Maya name for the Guatemalan city Quetzaltenango. The song has beautiful lyrics like, “I come to sing to my lover, my silver moon of my Xelajú,” and “Moon of Xelajú, you inspired me/ The song I sing watered with the tears of my heart.” As you can see, the song is about heartbreak — and in that sense, is timeless.
All about the significance of “Luna de Xelajú” to both stars
As you can see in the clip, fans are going crazy about, Isaac teamed up with Gaby Moreno to serenade us all with their gorgeous voices and epic guitar skills. The actor is every bit of a heart-wrenching crooner, and did we mention we’re even more in love now?
Even better? The song holds deep significance for both stars — which is exactly the reason they’ve performed it live together in the past. Isaac, who is Guatemalan-Cuban and was born in Guatemala City, explained, “My grandmother Graciela Argentina Nicolle de Estrada would perform ‘Luna De Xelajú’ in the concert halls of Guatemala.”
He said, “Growing up it was always hummed or sung as a lullaby by my mother Eugenia, and was a favorite of my uncle Guillermo’s.”
The “Moon Knight” actor also described how happy he is to be a part of such a special project. “I’m grateful to Gaby for asking me to share this song as a way of honoring my family and all of Guate.”
Meanwhile, Gaby Moreno said she has sung it since she was “a teenager,” and has recently performed live as an encore. She also described how the collab came to life: “I invited my dear friend and incredible artist, Oscar Isaac, to sing it with me for this very special acoustic version…Just two voices with two guitars, singing together this timeless, sweet, and nostalgic song from our motherland.” We love to see it.
Oscar Isaac actually has a musical background
In addition to his grandmother being a Guatemalan singer, Oscar Isaac has a musical past as well. While he was in high school, his parents divorced and he moved to Palm Beach, Florida with his mother. Telling Esquire it was a “glorious” time,” he met “these guys who lived in the trailer parks in Boynton Beach and started a band.”
The actor and musician remembered playing Nirvana’s song “Rape Me” at a talent show with his band when he was just 14. Recalling the moment decades later, he laughed, “Yeah, we didn’t win.”
Still, Isaac continued playing in ska-punk bands in the late 90s and early 2000s. He joined bands like Paperface, The Worms, and The Blinking Underdogs, who he released an EP and album with. They were inspired by other bands like Sublime, Goldfinger, The Cure, and Fishbone, and were active until 2001.
The more you know!