Oscar Isaac is paying homage to his Guatemalan roots through song…
The 44-year-old Cuban-Guatemalan actor has joined voices with Gaby Moreno to release a stripped-down rendition of the classic waltz anthem, “Luna de Xelajú.”
The lead single off Moreno’s upcoming album was released on Friday alongside a music video directed by Diego Contreras, which sees the two guitarists and singers performing the track in one take at the Palace Theater in Los Angeles.
“‘Luna de Xelajú’ is considered the 2nd anthem of my country, Guatemala. Written by Paco Pérez in the 1940s,” explains Moreno. “I’ve been singing it since I was a teenager and more recently have been performing this song live in my concerts, usually as an encore. 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.”
Isaac is no stranger to displaying his musical prowess on screen.
The Golden Globe-winning and Emmy-nominated actor played a struggling folk musician in the Coen Brothers-directed Inside Llewyn Davis, and also co-wrote an original song for the 2011 film 10 Years. However, “Luna de Xelajú” is particularly notable because it sees Isaac singing in Spanish.
“My grandmother Graciela Argentina Nicolle de Estrada would perform ‘Luna De Xelajú’ in the concert halls of Guatemala. Growing up it was always hummed or sung as a lullaby by my mother Eugenia, and was a favorite of my uncle Guillermo’s,” Isaac says. “I’m grateful to Gaby for asking me to share this song as a way of honoring my family and all of Guate.”
Since moving to the U.S. from her native Guatemala, Moreno has put out seven albums with her 2022 record Alegoría earning a Grammy nomination for best Latin rock or alternative album. She was previously nominated in 2017 in the best Latin pop album category for her Spanish-folk album, Ilusión.
In addition to her music, Moreno has a long list of credits in TV and film. She co-wrote the theme song for Parks and Recreation, and most recently collaborated on Guillermo del Toro’s Netflix show Cabinet of Curiosities.
Moreno also received a 2023 Guild of Music Supervisors Awards nomination for her song “A Song In My Heart” in the Eugenio Derbez-starring film, The Valet.
“Luna de Xelajú” is the first single from Moreno’s “X Mí (Vol. 1)” EP (pronounced “Por Mi”), slated for release on May 5 via Cosmica Artists.
The new record — a blend of songs in both English and Spanish — “will house a collection of rich and soulful acoustic songs that have remained dear to Gaby’s heart,” per the press release.