Mexico’s most spoken language is Spanish, but at least here we have more than 60 indigenous official languages. Valgur remind us about one of them.
If you go to the south of the country, to the states of Oaxaca or Chiapas, you wouldn’t feel local speaking Spanish. As a person born in the Mexico City, I felt like a true foreigner during one visit to Oaxaca. In the bus, the locals spoke mixe, a language that I didn’t understood at all. An authentic foreigner in my own country!
Unfortunately, with the pass of time and advance of the violent globalization, ancient languages like mixe or zapoteco are doomed to disappear and to remain in oblivion just as a curiosity. The so-called modernity, with the idea of becoming something new, forgetting tradition and origin, is a poison for the traditional languages of different regions in my country.
With that in mind, in Juchitán, Oaxaca, the group Valgur thought a very clever way to combat capitalism. The key? A beautiful track sung in Zapotec called “Rogelia”.
Combining elements such as computer sound effects, and Zapotec language, Valgur accomplished a thrilling song showing us that cultures can be mutally inspiring for each other – among equals and not as an imposition .
“‘Rogelia’ was born of suffering”, the singer Elizabeth Valdivieso told me in an interview that I made for Reconoce.mx. “My 84-year-old grandmother Rogelia was fighting a terminal illness. The song was intended to go beyond the pain one feels when one sees a loved one suffer.”
“The fact that an elderly person dies in our community means a great loss and deterioration of our Zapotec race. Likewise, we wanted to create a dialogue between tradition and globalization. Being a trio originating from zapotecan towns – Hugo and me from Juchitán, and Julio from Unión Hidalgo – we have lived between two worlds: the traditional one and the modern one. Between the rural and the technological world.”
“Rogelia” is an exciting song that presents us a very interesting way to respect, pay love and protect our past and our elders. Because in the languages, as in the music, their spirits lives with so much force as when they were with us.