Balam Ajpu: means Jaguar Warrior and represents duality, the



Balam Ajpu: means Jaguar Warrior and represents duality, the
 Balam Ajpu: means Jaguar Warrior and represents duality, the opposites that complement each other, masculine and feminine energy. This group is made up of M.C.H.E., Tz’utu Kan, and Dr. Nativo, who crossed paths at Lake Atitlán in the beginning of the Wayeb (Time of No Time, 5 days of the Mayan Calendar) in the synchronization of 12 Sak Bey (Carrier of the Year) in 2010. This project was born in the ancient Oxlajuj Baktun, and continues in the new Jun Baktun, passing between the past and the present. Currently the three are part of the musical project Balam Ajpu, whose goal is to combine Mayan spirituality with art and to achieve a fusion between the indigenous Cosmovision, or worldview, and music. For the past five years, they have worked with girls and boys from the Atitlán region and Quetzaltenango through their school of Hip Hop Cosmovision, Casa Ajaw. They are part of the movement that is recovering the ancestral wisdom that the Conquest tried to silence, relying on ancient art and combining it with contemporary trends. The musicians of Balam Ajpu refer to their creative work as “downloads” that they received through a series of ceremonies with spiritual guides like Venancio Morales. The lyrical content is based on a theological investigation in Tz’utujil. It evokes pre-­‐Hispanic music, which it mixes with universal rhythms and influences. In this way they created the first single, Bat’z, which they presented at the XVIII Biennial de Arte Paíz. In the second phase of the trecena of Jun Naoj (December 18, 2012), they performed four ceremonies that they called “process of downloading” of texts in groups of five: Sak Bey, Aj, Ix, Tzikin and Ajmaq. In these ceremonies, the Ajq’ij (spiritual guide) entered into a trance and spoke about each nawal in the ancient Mayan language, Tz’utujil. In the second session they “downloaded” Naoj, Tijax, Kawok and Ajpu. Later followed Imox, Iq, Ak’abal, Kat and Kan. And in the fourth session, they completed Keme, Kej, Q’anil, Tooj and Tzi. They worked with two studios, Audio Lab with Dj Básico3 and Andes Producciones with producer and arranger, Danilo Rodriguez. They received the financial support of Fundación Paíz, Mr. Music & Mr. Films, the Norwegian embassy in Guatemala, Actores de Cambio Asdi-­‐Hivos, Canal Cultural Artists Collective and Kraft Logic Studios. Review Jun Winaq’ Rajawal Q’ij / Tribute to the 20 Nawales The album, Jun Winaq’ Rajawal Q’ij, Tribute to the 20 Nawales, contains twenty songs that recover and reinterpret ancient calendar knowledge based on the Cholq’ij, the natural frequency of 20 days and 13 energies. The Nawal begins with the setting of the sun, crossing the night and the day until the next sunset. To capture the essence of each nawal, Balam Ajpu turns to Mayan rhythms supported by universal sounds. Their music engages the Rastafarian faith, the rebelliousness of Hip Hop, the winds of the Andes, Native American samples, and the beats of dancehall. Their Hip Hop switches between informative Spanish lyrics and mysterious words in Tz'utujil, K’iche' and Kaqchikel, in which they offer thanks and blessings, and invoke the energy of the 20 Nawales. The names of the twenty songs are Ba’tz, Sak Bey, Aj, Ix, Tzikin, Ajmaq, Naoj, Tijax, Kawok, Ajpu, Imox, Iq, Ak’abal, Kat, Kan, Keme, Kej, Q’anil, Tooj and Tzi. Each one includes choruses by Dr. Nativo, who captures the concept and the inspiration of each day; lyrics in Spanish by M.C.H.E., who researched and wrote about the meaning, origin, elements, animal and energetic places of each nawal with information from the spiritual guides from the Mayan highlands; and the voice of Tz’utu Kan reciting permission, pardon and petition to the corresponding energy in the Mayan languages, Tz’utujil, Kaqchikel and K’iche’. In the first part of the project, they worked with the beat-­‐maker, TeVe Producer, and producer, DJ Básico3, to record the samplers and the melodies of different instruments, such as drums, turtles, flutes, marimba, rattles, tunes, sounds of corn husks, bones, nets, shells and ocarinas, along with sounds of the wind, birds and felines. This soundbank was created in Sololá, at the home of pre-­‐Hispanic artistic research group, Sotz’il Jay. The second part of the recording of voices and instruments was done in Andes Producciones with maestro, Danilo Rodríguez, and post-­‐production was with Mr. Music & Mr. Films. Balam Ajpu.­‐Ajpu/1075374445824961 Music International Press: New York Times­‐lt-­‐guatemala-­‐mayan-­‐
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