Guatemalan musician showcases unique style

Gaby Moreno performs a guitar solo during a professional Cat Cab on May 19 in the Fred Meyer Lounge.

Singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno embodied the blues style in a professional Cat Cab on May 19 in the Fred Meyer Lounge.

Moreno engaged the audience during her performance, inviting junior Jeremy Moll to join her on stage for two songs.

“I love being spontaneous,” Moreno said. “I saw [Moll] playing, and I liked how he played. So I just asked him to come up.”

Freshman Kyra Rickards said she enjoyed the show.

“I thought [Moreno] was absolutely amazing,” Rickards said. “It was one of the best Cat Cabs ever.”

Freshman Annika Yates said she appreciated the bilingual musical experience.

“She was really good, really great,” Yates said. ”I loved how she sang in Spanish too.”

Moreno’s musical roots extend back to her childhood.

The 29-year-old was born and raised in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Moreno said that she started singing at the age of two and started taking formal lessons when she was five.

She also said that she started performing at festivals and opening for other artists when she was nine years old.

Moreno said her love for music deepened while she was on a family trip to New York City and heard women on the street singing blues songs.

She said she started listening to artists such as, Koko Taylor, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Roberta Flack and Ella Fitzgerald.

“[These artists] inspired me,” Moreno said. “I became very interested in the blues music of the 1920s and 1930s. I’d lock myself in my room for hours when I was listening to blues music.”

Moreno said blues music was also the reason why she decided to learn English.

She said she traveled from Guatemala to Los Angeles, Calif., to pursue her dream of being a blues singer after graduating from high school. This decision brought her to America, where she attended classes at the Musician

“I don’t think I would have been able to get where I am today if I would have stayed in Guatemala,” Moreno said. “I knew this is where I had to be.”

While she sings a combination of blues and jazz, Moreno incorporates her Guatemalan background by singing in both Spanish and English.

Some of her more popular songs are “Ave Que Emigra”, “Y Tu Sombra” and “All Things Considered.”

Moreno said that her Guatemalan background has influenced her song writing, along with her experiences  in America.

“I am musically inspired by a lot of things,” she said. “I am inspired by my experiences in Guatemala and moving here. That’s part of it, but not all about that.”

Moreno said she enjoyed her visit to Linfield.

“I had a lot of fun. It was a nice atmosphere,” Moreno said. “I love, love, love this town, and this is a beautiful campus.”

Kaylyn Peterson/Sports editor
Kaylyn Peterson can be reached at


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