"2008 reissue of these field recordings made by Thierry Zéno in the Tzotzile community in Chiapas, Mexico, originally released by Sub Rosa in 1999. This is a unique document that includes rare ritual music, psalms, dialogue and stories of revolt from the last descendents of the Mayan culture. For the past 20 years, Belgian author and filmmaker Thierry Zéno has regularly visited the Tzotzile community that can be heard on this record, archiving and filming. Because he is accepted as "the man who makes pictures," and has made a point of showing the preceding year's film on each of his visits, he has compiled a survey of prime importance. A few of the most important rituals in the life of this community are offered here - including the music for the Day of the Dead, the music heralding All Saints' Day, The Transfer of Power (chant of authority changing hands), sanctifying rituals, some dialogue in the language of the Maya, field recordings of Christmas night and Carnival and a fragment of speech of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation."
"When the sun is out, our ancestors played the drums and the bugle. They asked Jesus to let them live. Our fathers and mothers said a bird would come and put us to death.
If the sun went out, our chickens and turkeys would eat us...
Some 150.000 Tzotziles live in the high plateaus in the state of Chiapas. They form, with the Tzeltales, a closely related tribe, one of the most prominent Indian communities in Mexico.
Of Mayan extraction, they retain a traditional life comparatively devoid of hispanic influence.
The Chenalho community is made up of 18.000 Tzotziles and 2.000 Ladinos (hispanisized half breeds).
The Tzotzile religion is a syncretic fusion of Christianity which was imposed on them and their surviving ancestral beliefs. They venerate not only heaven and earth, but also the statues of the saints which are believed to be more than idols with non-Indian faces. They dress them up in their cloths and jewels, wreath them in flowers, burn incense to them, cover them in oil and make offerings of alcohol, and, more recently, of Coca-cola and Pepsi... which are in fact the most expensive of drinks.
The traditional Tzotzile orchestra is made up of instruments of their own fabrication -harps, guitars, drums, little fiddles, and water pipes that mimic bird song."-Sub Rosa
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1. traditional feast day music (part one)
2. the old sexton´s story
3. music heralding all saints´ day
4. fire works, bells, voices and drums
5. bells on the night of october 31
6. rapid chant of authority changing hands
7. slow chant of authority changing hands
8. the eleder´s chant
9. the arrival of the tzotziles
10. music in celebration of the christmas holiday
11. the sexton´s dance
12. long litany inhaled and exhaled during an ordinary servie
13. the sanctification of a church
14. the sanctification of a house
15. margarita and antonio
16. ilol the shaman
17. music of the carnival fanfare
18. trumpet, flute and little drum
19. voices and music at night
20. the chant of the blacks
21. speech of July 27, 1996 by major anna-maria
22. an interview with commandant david
23. traditional feast day music (part two)