Nowadays, according to INEGI (National Institute of Statistics and Geography) data, there are over 780,000 people that speak Mayan language and a total of five million that practice it in Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. A group of eight young men of Maya ancestry express themselves through rap, taking it to people that probably never would’ve heard it if it wasn’t for the virality of social media.
On May 4th the video for the song Estoy Contento (I am happy) from the rap group Tihorappers Crew was posted on YouTube, it went viral, summing up over 2,5 million reproductions.
This collective of young men between the ages of 16 and 21 years old from Tihosuco, in the nor east of Quintana Roo, has written and interpreted themes mixing Spanish and Mayan for four years now.
The crew attends high school or college and they all have the same goal: saving their native tongue through music. They narrate their everyday life, their surroundings and the perception of it through rap. “Nowadays a lot of people think that speaking your native tongue is a bad thing and use Spanish instead. For Mayan language not to disappear, we thought the best way to transmit it was using rap music” added Luis Felipe, aka MC Chama, member of the crew.
Their producer, Tania Jimenez of ADN Maya Producciones bets on the importance of promoting the use of this language as well as their culture between young people, thanks to music this and more is possible.
Before their video went viral, Tihorappers Crew had only presented themselves locally, but with the help of social media, they and their work have reached unimaginable places.
“Apart from singing in our native tongue and experimenting in a genre that it’s very interesting, we share our experiences and try to do so in a positive manner. That is why we had a satisfying response from the netizens” points out Christian Augusto.