María Reyna, The Soprano Mixe Seeking To Sing In 68 Mexican Languages

María Reyna, The Soprano Mixe Seeking To Sing In 68 Mexican Languages
María Reyna is a soprano Mixe, born in the northern highlands of Oaxaca She was born in the town of Metate, Santa María Tlahuitoltepec in 1990, and as a child discovered the power of her voice while walking in the mountains listening to traditional bands. In elementary school, she joined the school choir training with a single teacher, with whom she learned keyboard and voice.

She migrated to the city of Guadalajara, perfected her Spanish, worked as a maid, and took singing lessons with Professor Joaquin Garzon, who realized that Maria had the voice of a soprano.

Some time later, she was educated in Italian operas, and studied at the Escuela Superior Diocesana de Música Sacra, in Guadalajara, Jalisco. Her academic preparation was based on a degree in Gregorian Chants at the School of Sacred Music in Guadalajara and on voice improvement in bel canto.

When she felt that various institutions did not value her work, at least not as much as other commercial artists, she decided to sing in her mother tongue; although she could well devote herself to singing opera or classical music.

“After 14 years of acting as the only ambassador of indigenous words, it has been extraordinary,” said María Reina, in an interview for the newspaper La Jornada. In the last few years she has dedicated herself to finding spaces in theaters and various centers.

But singing in the indigenous language is one of the challenges that began during the pandemic. From there arose the project Canto a la Raíz, with which she proposes to include the 68 languages recognized in Mexico.

So far it has 14, the goal is to include 10 each year. The project is independent and advances with its own resources. Her first recording was Orgullosa soy raíz, in which she demonstrates her operatic technique that fuses with other genres, such as jazz, bolero and traditional music, including songs in Mixe, Mixtec, Zapotec, Nahuatl, Mayan and Spanish.

She has given a concert tour in New York, Stamford and Washington. María Reyna poses with a rebozo on the promotional poster. Tääk?unk (mother, in Mixe) is the song that made her known more than 10 years ago, especially in social networks.