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Men of (Maya) Playa: José Alberto Poot Chablé

Meet José Alberto, a musician whose interest in Mayan music was passed down to him from his father

In Tihosuco, a municipality of Carillo Puerto, there is a family that is committed to the Maya culture. Following the example of his father Don Teófilo Poot, José Alberto has been interested in learning the music that his uncles, father and grandfather have made since he was very young. They were musicians that played Maya Pax, ritual music from the Mayan Social War of the 19th century.

José Alberto not only showed an interest in learning each of the instruments of Maya Pax, he also wanted to learn about their past history and their customs.

When he was young, he would approach his grandfathers and sit very still listening and observing them play. This is how he learned to playa music, because Maya Pax has no manuscripts; it is passed on from father to son. José Alberto not only showed an interest in learning each of the instruments of Maya Pax, he also wanted to learn about their past history and their customs. He approached his grandfathers with much respect and asked about how the music was before the arrival of the Spanish, who their gods were, and when and why they prayed.

José Albero Poot Chablé would ask why their customs and gods were destroyed and forgotten. He understands that a new religion was imposed, but that many of the inhabitants of the original villages are Catholics and have an occidental way of life. Nevertheless, they do not forget their roots, culture, language and ancient wisdom.

This is why now, as an adult, he has given himself the task of passing on this knowledge to his sons. They have joined the groups he has formed that are dedicated to music, pre-hispanic dance  and the pelota game, along with other youth from the community. This way he can complete his mission of preserving his culture and values.

José Alberto and his father also have an artisan workshop where they build lamps and pre-hispanic instruments like the tunkul (drum).

I highly recommend a trip to Tihosuco so you can visit the museum and the workshop of José Aberto and his father and enjoy a day of dance, pre-hispanic music and playing Maya ball games.

To get in touch with them via Facebook, search for: José Alberto Poot Chablé

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