Home » Songs That Make the Road Dance: Courtship and Fertility Music of the Tzutujil Maya by Linda OBrien-Rothe
Songs That Make the Road Dance: Courtship and Fertility Music of the Tzutujil Maya Linda OBrien-Rothe

Songs That Make the Road Dance: Courtship and Fertility Music of the Tzutujil Maya

Linda OBrien-Rothe

Published August 1st 2015
ISBN : 9781477301098
Hardcover
272 pages
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 About the Book 

An important and previously unexplored body of esoteric ritual songs of the Tzutujil Maya of Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala, the Songs of the Old Ones are a central vehicle for the transmission of cultural norms of behavior and beliefs within thisMoreAn important and previously unexplored body of esoteric ritual songs of the Tzutujil Maya of Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala, the Songs of the Old Ones are a central vehicle for the transmission of cultural norms of behavior and beliefs within this group of highland Maya. Ethnomusicologist Linda OBrien-Rothe began collecting these songs in 1966, and she has amassed the largest, and perhaps the only significant, collection that documents this nearly lost element of highland Maya ritual life.This book presents a representative selection of the more than ninety songs in OBrien-Rothes collection, including musical transcriptions and over two thousand lines presented in Tzutujil and English translation. (Audio files of the songs can be downloaded from the UT Press website.) Using the words of the songmen who perform them, OBrien-Rothe explores how the songs are intended to move the Old Ones the ancestors or Nawals to favor the people and cause the earth to labor and bring forth corn. She discusses how the songs give new insights into the complex meaning of dance in Maya cosmology, as well as how they employ poetic devices and designs that place them within the tradition of Kichean literature, of which they are an oral form. OBrien-Rothe identifies continuities between the songs and the Kichean origin myth, the Popol Vuh, while also tracing their composition to the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries by their similarities with the early chaconas that were played on the Spanish guitarra espanola, which survives in Santiago Atitlan as a five-string guitar.