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Sounds of Yucatan

The first playlist features several examples of Trova Yucateca, the traditonal seranatas performed by trovadores, or trios, in Yucatan. Trova styles include Bambuco Yucateco, Clave, Bolero, Jarana and even Ranchera/Corrido, more commonly heard in northern Mexico. The first three selections are by Guty Cardenas who first brought Bambuco Yucateco to the United States in the 1920's. Unfortunately, his performances were retrieved from scratchy old records and do not have the presence of a modern recording. Don't miss Odiame (Hate Me) by Los Tres Rios, with its ironically joyful guitar in counterpoint to the blending of mournful voices. After hearing it, you may not be able to resist buying a few trova CDs at the mercado the next time you're in Merida.

In the meantime, enjoy these tunes by clicking the Play button next to the song description (It might take a few seconds to load).

The second playlist below features a sampling of modern recordings from two CD collections produced by INDEMAYA (State Institute for the Development of the Mayan Culture) during their "Songs in the Mayan Language Competition". As the name suggests, all of the lyrics are in Maya. The compositions, however, represent the broadest possible range of styles, from Pop to Regge to Calypso to Hip-Hop. Of particular interest is the song titled, Isidoro II, which is about the hurricane that struck the peninsula in 2002. The style is Jarana, typical of Mayan dance, but the vocal sound effects and orchestral accompanyment transform it into a show tune. Our favorite is called Koótene'ex a k'ajóolte'ex Yucatán, a real mouthful for a gringo, but it means "get to know Yucatan." It's our new unofficial theme song. There are many more songs to this collection, which you can hear by visiting Many thanks to Eduardo Cabrera from the state government's press office for bringing these songs to our attention.

Music & Audio

  • Guty Cardenas, "La Cuera".
  • Guty Cardenas, "Nunca".
  • Guty Cardenas, "Para Olvidarte a ti".
  • Hermanos Martinez Gil, "Vuelve".
  • Johnny Albino, "La Mentira".
  • Los Montejo, "Dicen que los que mueren".
  • Los Panchos, "Caminemos".
  • Los Santos, "El Andariego".
  • Los Tres Reyes, "Odiame".
  • Trio San Juan, "Jamás, Jamás, Jamás".
  • Los Tri-O, "Como fui a enamorarme de ti".
  • Santiago Pat Santos, "Ma' u To'okol To'on".
  • Victor Manuel Aarón Sánchez, "Isidoro II".
  • Wilfrido Dzul Tzacum, "Tízimin".
  • Victor Manuel Aarón Sánchez, "Itzmal".
  • Hermenegildo Yah May, "Koótene'ex a K'ajóolte'ex Yucatán".
  • Hidalgo Tzec Haas, "In Chan X-box Oot'el".

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