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Friday, December 8, 2023

Diego Cahun: Mayan culture is not going to die, it is just constantly evolving

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Quitzé Fernández
Quitzé Fernándezhttps://www.amonite.com.mx
Amonite es un sitio dedicado a la divulgación científica para niños y jóvenes. Somos un grupo de amigos que escucha, cuenta historias y las plasma en algo parecido a un papel. Por medio de la ilustración y los medios audiovisuales buscamos acercar las novedades de ciencia y tecnología con un lenguaje accesible para todos. Amonite es un proyecto binacional editado y diseñado entre México y Argentina. Nace en 2017 a iniciativa de Quitzé Fernández, quien obtuvo en 2013 el Premio Nacional de Periodismo y Divulgación Científica, convocado por el Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología de México (Conacyt), con la crónica La mujer que encontró dinosaurios en el patio de su casa. A él se unieron los ilustradores Daniel Galindo y Jess Silva, que han generado trabajo visual para diarios e instituciones del norte de México; y más adelante los periodistas José Juan Zapata y Jessica Jaramillo, en la edición y generación de contenido, desde Buenos Aires, Argentina. Todos ellos forman parte del staff permanente de Amonite, junto a un grupo de colaboradores que aportan sus visiones periodísticas, visuales y literarias del mundo de la ciencia.

The rapper presents his song “Tak ta wotoch” (To your house) to give a message that the Mayan culture is in full swing, and to help other entrepreneurs and artists to present their services and creations and thus form a community.

By: Jose Juan Zapata

Illustration: Carolina Robles

Listen to the audio interview:

Although rock and hip hop in indigenous languages has already been a reality for many years, more and more young people are encouraged to share their ideas and messages in their mother tongue, as well as engage with their community.

Diego Cahun is one of them, who from the state of Quintana Roo shares a song full of energy called “Tak ta wotoch” (To your house), where he forces us to look in the mirror and recognize the indigenous roots that beat in Mexicans. . At Amonite we talked to him about his history and his music:

How were your beginnings in rap, how did you become interested in this genre?

Notice that I started at eight years of age, but not formally with music but through poetry. Some colleagues commissioned me drawings for their girlfriends and once a colleague asked me for something that had a bit of poetry. I didn’t know anything and it occurred to me to look through some books, since my parents are teachers. I came across poems that my mom rewrote in a notebook, and I said: “look, this could go with this drawing”. And in that I got the idea to say. “Hey, maybe I can create my own.” So little by little I was placing my own interpretations.

Going to high school I got to know the rap genre with artists like Cartel de Santa. But from before my dad already listened to things like Kumbia Kings, Molotov, Cypress Hill. I listened to them when I exercised. Later I understood that it was something of rhymes. And since poems have rhymes, why don’t they connect with each other? This is how this thing of making hip hop, of making music, began to emerge.

Tell me how you came up with rapping in the Mayan language.

Honestly, never in my life had I heard rap in the Mayan language. Since my parents are teachers, they had to serve a community far away from the city. I grew up there until I was 12 years old and managed to understand the Mayan language. In high school I went to live with my grandparents, who speak and understand the Mayan language, and little by little I started practicing there. And it was staying with me, it was staying with me. Then I met a group that did rap in the Mayan language and I asked them if it was complicated. “No, it’s like a lifestyle”, they told me, “Dare to try it”. So I said, “Well, let’s try it, shall we?” That’s how we got to hip hop.

“Even your house resounds the talk of the indigenous”, says one of your new songs…

When they talk about the indigenous, the first thing that comes to mind is a person who has many needs, deficiencies and above all outdated, right? But I believe that the indigenous are really capable of evolving. And that is precisely the purpose of presenting “Tak ta wotoch”: the evolution of the indigenous person who does not stay in one place, who travels to different places, who is free to do what he likes, mainly free expression.

Now, why “Tak ta wotoch” (“To your house”)? Well, it was something like: “Okay, I’m going to get to your house, I don’t know how, but I’m going to get there.” And it worked, because otherwise we wouldn’t be in this interview, right? So this project was to present a little of what we have here, to demonstrate that the Mayan culture has not died and is not going to die. It’s just constantly evolving.

You are also very interested in spreading the protection of the environment. Tell us what challenges the Mayan area currently faces in this regard.

I have been asked this question a lot regarding the Mayan Train, which is being carried out here. I think that human beings have always coexisted with animals. Right now we are developing new technologies, and we can coexist with plants, nature, but we need not just one or two to raise awareness. You have to think that the contribution you are leaving can leave sequels. A project is being carried out here, but in what way or in what way is it going to be restored, or is it going to coexist, or is it going to coexist with the environment? If it manages to coexist, great. If it does not succeed, it must be made to coexist. Because there are many people for pretexts, few for solutions.

So, it’s good that you mention this topic. I feel that it is very good that projects are coming to this area, projects that have not arrived for a long time and that are now going to allow and improve cultural diversity. So this is an opportunity to face reality and look for solutions instead of problems. That is my position: maintain a balance with nature, respect it, respect each other and coexist. so be simple

Do you think that music can be a good means of social activism?

Music can do many things, but people also have to do their bit for music to have an impact. That is to say, if I talk to them about pure obscenities in a song, people are going to choose whether or not it happens. They are the filter. So, if many say: “ok, they are obscenities, but the truth sings it with a good rhythm”. Pass the filter. Why? Because it moved them.

If I make you a hip hop in the language, Maya, with a slightly stronger message, a forceful message, some people are going to be offended. They are going to say: “Listen to me, it’s fine, but don’t talk about it, you’re not the one to talk about it.” Or if you do it in the Mayan language it’s like: “ah, look, look for attention”. And I get it, but that’s not what it’s about. If they wanted to attract attention, anyone would be throwing a tantrum. The intention is to make a move. Movements take time, they are not overnight, and I am sure that more Mayan language artists will make themselves known. Because really something that starts is not suspended, it only goes to the next stage. So that’s what we want, for us to move on to the next stage.

What projects do you have in mind for the future?

We do have many projects for the future, but not so much from me or from Diego Cahum, as such. Now that we have had an impact, we use that little space or the platform on which we upload the song to give space to what we call “unknown”. More people, younger, artisans, with something special, so that they can present something of their work, or service, so that more people get to know them. Many are those who use Facebook today, and can meet our “strangers” and give them the opportunity. Or simply say: “Yes, you can. If this person is trying, why not me?

Possibly there will be music later. We are going to put some different rhythms, and visually too, but we will already be working on it. I honestly think that making fast music is like making candy: they’re pretty, the world likes them, but in the long run they give you cavities. I mean, it hurts you. So, what better if you prepare something with time, that is very good and that you give it all the patience. Everything has a certain time and when it comes out it will have the same impact. You don’t have to compete with the world, you don’t have to try to put a foot in the world either. Rather, you have to compete with yourself, improve yourself and try to find solutions instead of problems, because that’s what life is all about.


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