Isabel Umanzor

by Dana Kester-McCabe

For Isabel Umanzor, a native of Chile, music was an important part of her upbringing. Today, her creative expression comes in the form of both writing and performing music. She also creates paintings which are moody and expressionistic. She calls them “graphic dreaming”.

Her father was an amateur musician and she began performing at a very young age at her church and school. Isabel says she always wanted to come to the United States but it was the loss of her father that pushed her to make the move. Isabel grew up during the time of the Pinochet dictatorship when music was central to the spirit of rebellion. She joined a folk group when she was eleven and since then she has never been separated from music. She put music aside while she studied to get a teaching degree in Spanish.

When Isabel came to the U.S. she began performing as a way to make money but mostly to enjoy the gift her father had given her. She recorded her first CD as a gift to her mother. Her original songs are steeped in social commentary, though she avoids politics in her music.

Though she confesses to always being nervous as she begins to perform, when Isabel starts to sing she connects with the friendly energy of the audience. Isabel’s music can be described as a Latin acoustic groove. She takes an intuitive approach to song writing.

Isabel is also a painter who calls her work graphic dreaming. Painting and music both helped her to deal with the emotional impact of moving to a new country. She paints mostly for herself calling her paintings her “babies” but she does accept commissions.

Isabel’s day job is teaching high school Spanish at the Salisbury School. On weekends and during the summer she performs locally in lower Delaware and Worcester County. Her passion seems to be – being fully engaged in the poetry of life.

Isabel is also one of the organizers of the the Festival Hispano in Millsboro, Delaware which is put on every year on the second Sunday of August by El Centro Cultural ( a nonprofit dedicated to Latin American arts in Delaware.

Simple Love Song

Children World

Isabel Umanzor tells her story in Spanish