Sunday, June 26, 2011


Here we are rocking out to Michael Jackson. I actually enjoy this part of the work: being a DJ. I did this in college for a couple of years; we did music programs, not really knowing shit about what we were doing. Here am I doing it in a language that is not mine, for a public that I really don't know. We don't have a strong signal, and we don't have any money to do publicity (and no, the radio is not online yet; we plan to do that when we have the money and the technology to make it happen), so it's not clear who the public is. The idea behind having popular music in the afternoons is to make it more appealing to young people, as the mission of Ixmukané involves both rural women and young people throughout the department.

The organization would be happy to have me cover as much of the afternoon slot as I am willing but in the long run the station needs to be sustainable - and that means having people to do this program after I leave. I'm not sure how to resolve that. For the meantime I'm having fun. 

It's been a rapid education. The Monday show is supposed to be rock en español (rock in Spanish) or rock en tu idioma (rock in your language -- another term used for rock in Spanish).  Not a genre or genres that I know a whole lot about. I quickly did some research to find groups and a bit of history and did a show on the early roots of rock en español and then another show on rock mexicano (Mexican rock). 

This next week (June 27) I am going a show on rock in Mayan languages. There are a few groups that write songs in Maya languages -- so far I've been able to find recordings from a group called B'itzma Sobreviviencia (sobreviviencia means "survival", not sure about b'itzma but will check it out for you). They are from San Marcos Ildefonso in Huehuetenango and compose some songs in Mam. Here's a sample of their music.
There is another group from Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan in Quetzaltenango called Kabawil that has some songs in K'iche', and I've gotten one CD's worth of music from them.  Here's one of their songs, "Aquel Rio" (that water).
To be perfectly frank, the music is a bit "soft" for my tastes. I like my rock harder, angrier (I am looking into the Guatemala punk scene, which apparently dates back to the mid-1970s, but I haven't found any CDs to purchase or music to download yet). But I think the fact that there are groups recording in Maya languages is important.

So, the show on Monday will include a dialogue with two people from the Academy of Maya Languages, located a couple of miles away from the radio station, on the outskirts of Santa Cruz del Quiché heading south towards Chichicastenango. What is the significance, from the standpoint of those concerned with the preservation of indigenous languages, of young people recording music in Mam, K'iche' and other Maya languages. I have also been able to get in touch with one of the members of Sobrevivencia (let's hear it for Facebook!) and he has agreed to do a phone interview.  So it should be an interesting afternoon.

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