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    Florencio Mess | Maya K'ek'chi Strings
An Essential Maya Album
In this collection of traditional Maya K'ekchi' songs, master harpist Florencio Mess and his musicians present a rare glimpse into a rich, centuries old culture that continues to live in the rainforests of Belize and Guatemala.
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1. Introduction,   2. Sun Chilan,   3. Sun Tur,   4. Takchi,   5. Son So' Sol,   6. Meb' A Sun,   7. Interlude One,   8. Katzkatz Sun,   9. Quarquar Ril,   10. B'a Ala,   11. Kok' Che' Sun,   12. Interlude Two,   13. Sun Ah Owe,   14. Yan Tush,   
   The Story
Recorded live in a week-long series of sessions at the historic old Radio Belize studios in Belize City, the album features Mr. Mess and two other village musicians recreating the sounds of their forefathers on traditional instruments handcrafted from rainforest hardwoods.

Florencio Mess is one of the few remaining harpists to maintain the centuries-old tradition of Maya K'ekchi' harp music and instrument crafting. His music is a living link to the vibrant ancient Maya culture and is an important part of village celebrations in southern Belize as well as an important contribution to Belize's culture heritage.

Mess continues to live in the remote Maya K'ekchi' village of San Pedro Colombia where he works his farm, crafts instruments and plays at local celebrations and fiestas. He has also played extensively throughout Belize and the region.

Maya K'ekchi' music has changed little over the years and it usually centers around the typical harp combo, often driving traditional circle dances. The songs are all instrumental and are performed with hand made traditional guitar, violin and the lead instrument , a thirty string harp, which carries the melody and harmony.

Like most traditional Maya musicians, Mess learned to play as a child, studying under a mentor who taught him not only the music, but how to fashion instruments out of rain forest hardwoods and using traditional tools.

Mr. Mess has a large repertoire, based entirely on traditional songs which most villagers believe were composed by the Maya gods centuries ago.

Catholicized over the years, K'ekchi' Maya celebrations and ceremonies have been moved to Christian holidays such as Christmas and Easter, but traditional music still plays an important part in providing a sense of continuity and cultural esteem.

Recently, the Maya of Belize are finding a voice in national and international affairs. Village activists have demanded a stronger participation in decision-making, and Maya organizations have successfully reclaimed traditional land lost to colonization. Along with this has come a renaissance of culture, and Florencio Mess, is becoming even more recognized as an important Belizean social and cultural asset.

Florencio Mess: Maya Harp | Leonardo Acal: Maya Violin | Juan Cucul: Maya Guitar |
- Produced by Ivan Duran - Co-produced and Engineered by Alain Martinez - Mastered by Jorge Cruz at Estudio 19, Mexico City - Album Photography by Joan Duran - Graphic Design Vicente Rojo Cama

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