Posted by: gmontealegre | May 1, 2012

Tzotzil language spiritual rock

SAK TZEVUL a spiritual rock band from the region of Chiapas, Mexico is making its debut this weekend in New York.

SAK TZEVUL’s (pronounced sac sebool) airy, soft flowing, meditative unique sounds are created with indigenous instruments as the corina (clay flute), conch, and maracas, fused with more modern instruments as the modern electric guitar and violin. Their sound recreates the authentic longing music of the Zinancantan Mayan village located in the high and vast mountains of Chiapas.

SAK TZEVUL meaning the “original music” in Tzotzil language nonetheless is creating discussion in its own town because as its founder says, the kids didn’t dare sing in their own language of Tzotzil.

Damian Guadalupe Martinez, lead singer for SAK TZEVUL, said young musicians would rather imitate the new sounds than enunciate the Mixtec language before an audience or a public microphone for fear of being ridiculed.  “Most music played in my town, and others like it in Mexico, is imposed. Our indigenous music has been relegated to behind the scenes to be forgotten and not promoted,” he said.

“I created my group as a form of rebellion, because I believe we have to keep the legacy of our ancestors and our music which is thousands of years old, before the colonies of 400 years ago.”

SAK TZEVUL was invited by Habana/Harlem® producer Neyda Martinez (no relation) for a month-long visit to help communities in the USA understand immigrant communities and to directly form dialogue between the people who live in the communities where Mexicans are being victimized and the Mexican community. The hope is that through dialogue and music the groups can come together.  As for Martinez he hopes to continue coming to the U.S. to participate in many more discussions and tour the country.

During their month-long visit, the group will be visiting many locations.  The discussions under the banner,  “A Time for Healing Bori-Mex Talks,” will bring together the  oldest Puerto Rican and Mixteca organizations who will host them in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.

Another phenomenon being created by the group, is the inspiration to young women to create music. For the first time in Zinancantan, the two women in the band who are of Japanese ancestry Rie Watanabe and Kiori Nishil are showing women that it’s okay to join a band and play instruments in this male-oriented profession.  Rie and Nishil are the percussionists and back up singers to Martinez, creating their sounds with indigenous instruments as well as the violin.

The band also dedicates a song to women and the three spirits that define women on earth: the moon, mother earth, and the spirit. The song is done in Japanese and Tzotzil language.


  1. Reblogged this on The Spaces In Between and commented:
    Anyone who is New York should see Sak Tzevul while they are there! They are amazing. I had the pleasure of living with Damian’s parents while I was working in Zinacantan, and saw Sak Tzevul play multiple times. They are incredible. I wish I could attend their concert on May 24th, but my sister is graduating.

  2. […] an interview with a New Jersey Blogger, Hola Desde NJ, “Damian Guadalupe Martinez, lead singer for SAK TZEVUL, said young musicians would rather […]

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