Philip and Thomas Montalban

Philip Montalban and his son, Thomas Montalban.

Philip Montalban played a short concert for us on the back porch at Quaker House tonight, and gave us a history lesson of the Caribbean coast of the country.

Montalban is a reggae artist from Bluefields, Nicaragua now living in Managua. He has visited the Washburn campus for concerts three different times and we hope he can join us again soon.

When Rick Ellis walked onto the porch, Montalban stopped talking and flashed a full-face smile.

“Oh, my brother! How are you doing?” Montalban said. After a hug Montalban said “We have a big link with Mr. Rick.”

I think it’s safe to say we all felt lucky that their connection was being shared with us, too.

For us, he played a variety of songs representing many of the ethnic groups and cultures that make up the Caribbean coast, including the Mosquito indians, Garafina and Creole.

Montalban told us about the history of colonization in the Caribbean and the eastern half of Nicaragua, which until the 1890s was actually a separate country, including influences of the English, Dutch and Spanish.

“It’s a nice little country,” Montalban said of his homeland. “Now, we have to ways of living without creating unnecessary division. We are citizens of the universe. You and me are human beings on earth doing the same things.”

The experience concluded with a sing-along, with us as the response to a song Montalban wrote in honor of Bob Marley. Watch for a video of the sing along when we get back to Kansas.

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