10 Central American Artists to Watch in 2024

Jose Alvarado
7 min readOct 1, 2023
From left to right: Cesia Saenz, Kathy Palma, Sebas Barcenas, Nino Augustine, GORDO, and Isabella Lovestory.

The music scene in the Central American region has never been more vibrant. With an abundance of talented artists poised to shine in 2024, I’ve curated a list of the top 10 musical projects that should be on your radar. From an international pop star on the raise, to an opera singer, and a Regional Mexican band from El Salvador, this list has something for everyone!

  1. Cesia Sáenz (Honduras)

Cesia Sáenz rose to fame after becoming the first artist from Honduras, and the second from Central America, to win TV Azteca’s La Academia, the Latin American counterpart of American Idol. Soon after, she was signed by Sony Music and moved to Mexico to pursue her music career. Often referred to as “La Leona de Honduras” (The Lioness of Honduras), Cesia has released three singles characterized by a unique pop sound that I can only describe as a blend of Ariana Grande, Bruno Mars, and TINI. In just the past year and a half, Cesia has collaborated with artists that include Danny Ocean and Ricardo Arjona, received a distinctive accolade from the Honduran Congress recognizing her significant contributions to the arts, garnered millions of video views on Youtube, and was appointed as a Cultural Ambassador of Honduras in Mexico. It’s abundantly clear that Cesia possesses a deliberate vision for crafting music that resonates with a broad and diverse audience, laying the foundation for an exceptionally promising future. With time and wise decision-making, Cesia has the potential to become Central America’s first-ever female international superstar. It is imperative to keep Cesia Sáenz in your radar in 2024 and beyond.

2. La Autentica Banda LL (El Salvador)

Regional Mexican music has undeniably established itself as a worldwide phenomenon. Yet, this genre, formed by various sub-genres originating from diverse Mexican regions, has enjoyed popularity in Central America for quite a while. A prime example of this is the music coming from El Salvador, via La Autentica Banda LL. This band has been playing together for more than 7 years and has toured Latin America and the US multiple times. With more than 17 musicians on stage, La Autentica Banda LL possesses the ability to craft sophisticated musical performances capable of evoking a profound range of emotions from any audience. Their rendition of “Mientes Tan Bien”, originally performed by Sin Bandera, will make you an instant fan. As Mexican music continues its path to dominate the global Billboard charts, La Autentica Banda LL is poised to have a hugely successful 2024.

3. Las Hijas del Jazz (Panamá)

One of the most promising artistic projects to keep in your radar in 2024 is the educational initiative by the Danilo Pérez Foundation, dedicated to empowering girls and women in Panama through music, but more specifically, jazz. Under the leadership of Aleida Duartes as the Executive Director and Patricia Zárate, the Executive Director of the Panama Jazz Festival, serving as the musical director, this project has garnered immense support, which has led some of its members to pursue a music degree at the Berklee College of Music. Las Hijas del Jazz (The Daughters of Jazz) also benefits from the academic expertise of artist Idania Dowman Solinka, the dedicated team of educators at the Danilo Pérez Foundation, and the musical guidance of Jas Kayser, the pioneer of Panama’s first all-female jazz ensemble. This innovative initiative promises to be a beacon of hope and empowerment for girls and young women in Central America passionate about music and the arts. Keep an eye on Las Hijas del Jazz and its more than 50 members in 2024, as it is set to make a significant impact on the music industry, in Central America, and in the jazz scene.

4. GORDO (Nicaragua and Guatemala)

Diamanté Anthony Blackmon, who goes by the stage name GORDO or DJ GORDO, was born in Guatemala City to Nicaraguan parents. He’s a prominent DJ and record producer who recently gained significant attention for his role in producing six out of the fourteen tracks on Drake’s surprise album, “Honestly, Nevermind.” Formerly known as DJ Carnage, GORDO has also collaborated with artists like A$AP Rocky, Lil Uzi Vert, Maluma, Feid, and Migos. He made headlines again when he achieved the remarkable feat of delivering an eight-hour solo performance at NYC’s Brooklyn Mirage, following his performance at Coachella earlier this year. GORDO is set to release a record soon, which Drake himself said is his most anticipated album. Despite his already impressive achievements, it’s clear that GORDO’s potential is boundless. Keep both eyes open for him in 2024.

5. Isabella Lovestory (Honduras)

Isabella Rodriguez, also known as Isabella Lovestory, was born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and later relocated to the United States before settling in Canada. She has already established herself as a notable artist in Canada by opening for Pitbull, earning a spot on the shortlist for the 2023 Polar Music Prize, and receiving critical acclaim for her 2022 album (you can read the Pitchfork review here). Earlier this year she participated in the Spider-Man Across the Spider-Verse soundtrack with a fun and playful Spanish track titled “Sunflower. Isabella is renowned for her originality, pushing the boundaries of reggaeton and perreo. Her artistic style exudes a carefree, playful, and flirtatious charm, with common themes in her lyrics centered around empowerment and self-expression. Isabella’s future appears promising, especially as she continues to push the boundaries of her artistry, encouraging both herself and her audience to embrace new perspectives, both lyrically and musically.

6. Kavvo (Costa Rica)

Sandro Herrera Manzanares, known as Kavvo, has been making waves in the Costa Rican music industry ever since his track “Amarru” gained traction on local Spotify and YouTube playlists two years ago. Since then, he has consistently delivered solid hits, amassing a loyal following of over 128,000 monthly Spotify listeners, with more than 70,000 residing in San Jose, Costa Rica. This is particularly noteworthy given that San Jose has a population of approximately 340,000 people, meaning that 1 in every 5 of the city’s residents tune in to his music each month — quite an impressive feat! Kavvo’s remarkable talent lies in creating extremely catchy songs and making it look easy. With a recent signing to Universal Music and new music on the horizon, it’s safe to say that Kavvo is poised for an exciting 2024.

7. Sebas Barcenas (Guatemala)

With over 580,000 TikTok followers and an additional 80,000 on Instagram, Sebas has undeniably carved out a significant presence for himself in Latin America. Currently residing in Guatemala, Sebas came under the radar of Sony Music following the viral success of his track “La Canción que Llora” (The Song that Cries) earlier this year. His unique sound that includes his raspy voice, lyrics about love and heartbreak, mixed with electronic elements has resulted in a growing fan base. With over 90,000 monthly Spotify listeners and the promise of continued growth, Sebas will continue to push creative boundaries in the upcoming year.

8. Kathy Palma (Guatemala)

Kathy came onto my radar when I attended a LAMC showcase earlier this year. Some of my colleagues had recommended this showcase, which was a standout at the conference mainly because it was one of the only ones featuring talent from Central America. Hailing from Guatemala, Kathy specializes in delivering intimate and vulnerable singer-songwriter tunes. Her strength lies not only in her captivating voice but also in her skill as a compelling storyteller, skillfully accompanied by her acoustic guitar. Make sure to keep an eye on Kathy as she evolves, unveils fresh music, and takes the stage for live performances throughout 2024.

9. Nino Augustine (Panama)

Nino Augustine, a musical visionary hailing from Panama City, Panama, and now thriving in Atlanta, Georgia, is undoubtedly an artist to watch in 2024. Nino’s journey is a beautiful fusion of cultures and sounds, reflecting his Afro-Latin heritage and North American upbringing. He draws inspiration from a wide range of influences, spanning rap, salsa, and dancehall to reggaetón and Afro-Fusion. This diverse palette has allowed him to craft music that resonates with audiences and critics so much so that Rolling Stones named his 2021 album “Global Ninz” as the 25th best Spanish/Bilingual Album of 2021. In 2024, keep your eyes and ears open for Nino Augustine as he doesn’t think of music as just a sound; for him it’s a bridge that connects continents, cultures, and hearts.

10. Dennis Orellana (Honduras)

In the world of opera, talent is like a rare gem, and every now and then, a young artist emerges who captivates audiences with their extraordinary abilities. Dennis Orellana, a remarkable soprano born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, is undeniably this and more. In 2019, Dennis’ talent caught the attention of the Escuela Superior de Canto de Madrid, a renowned institution dedicated exclusively to opera. Two years later, he blew the judges of Spain’s Got Talent away receiving a standing ovation and the golden buzzer (watch the performance here). With upcoming engagements in prestigious productions, such as Griselda and Carlo il Calvo, it is clear that Dennis Orellana is poised to become a shining star in 2024 and beyond.

Click HERE for a curated Spotify playlist that includes the songs and artists mentioned above.



Jose Alvarado

I'm José Alvarado, an arts admin/music pro from Honduras. I curate and produce at THE OFFICE Arts, working globally with renowned institutions and artists.