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Balam Ajpu and the Mayan Elders.
With the permission of grandmothers and grandfathers, we offer these songs to the sacred energies of Jun Winak Rajawal Q'ij the 20 nawales of the Mayan calendar chool q'ij.
In 2012 Balam Ajpu met in Lake Atitlan with the purpose of bringing ancestral knowledge to new generations through music.
With the help of different spiritual guides, we asked for permission to be able to make this musical tribute, and thanks to a group of Mayan elders - Caminantes por la Vida y La Paz del Mundo, many thanks to the elder Tat Pedro Cruz for his guidance in the process, and thanks to elder Carlos Limatuj for accompanying us these days. We offer these songs, we ask for permission, and we apologize for our actions.
Balam Ajpu is comprised of two words. Balam, which means, mother nature, the feminine energy of the earth, and Ajpu, the masculine side, the sun warrior.
The Mayan Hip Hop project's main purpose is to rehabilitate the language so that it does not get lost in the modern world.
This project was created by a group of 3 artists from the Mayan highlands. Dr. Nativo created the music, MCHE compiled lyrics in Spanish, and Tzutu Kan wrote the texts in Tz´utujil.
The album Jun Winaq Rajawal Q´ij 20 Nawales is a tribute to the sacred calendar, the Chool Q´ij, a perfect mathematics of 13 energies, times 20 nawales, equal to 260 days. Equal to 9 months of the gestation of a fetus and equal to the growth of corn in the highlands.
These mathematics can be found in the human body with its 10 fingers and 10 toes, and the body's 13 major joints.
The main objective is to use the arts to transmit ancestral knowledge, cultural and spiritual practices that have been forbidden for centuries, and now return through song and music.

Balam Ajpu: Tribute to the 20 nawales /

Jun Winak Rajawal Q'ij

MCHE, DrNativo & Tzutu Kan: the three of us brought our own musical proposals, and we merged it in the Hip Hop school Caza Ajaw. It was a couple of years that we attended the children under the shade of a tree, and later we rented a small house to teach Hip Hop classes for children. Also new artists were catapulted from Caza Ajaw.
We applied for the Paiz art Biennial and presented a proposal to develop a sound installation. We chose the Nawal B'atz', the Nawal of artists. We had the participation of the Sotz'il Jay Cultural Center and Basico3. The production was a success because it aroused the interest of the Paiz Foundation, and they decided to finance the entire project of the Tribute to the 20 Nawales.    
The creation of the album Tribute to the 20 Nawales with Balam Ajpu was a big step for Mayan art. We began the ceremonial processes at the beginning of 2012 and it came out into the light in March 2016. We studied the calebndar with the great master timekeeper Aj Q'ij Tat Pedro Cruz and We consulted the Tz'utujil lyrical content in four ceremonies, in each ceremony we downloaded 5 songs with the healer Aj Cun Venancio Morales.  We reinforced our investigations with different Mayan spiritual guides to reinterpret the sacred calendars and we combined it with Hip Hop and world music bases. The project suddenly jumped to the world stage, participating in different international festivals, many international press organizations like the NY Times, the Washington Post, Japan Times, UK News published about the project. The academic publication of the anthropologist Rusty Barrett was very important, as it became curricular reading in Latin American Studies in different universities. As a result, we were invited to UCLA, Columbia University, Vanderbilt University, University of Kentucky, North Carolina State University at Chapel Hill, Chico University, UC Santa Cruz, etc. NPR
The project had the participation of the great maestro Danilo Rodriguez. Importantly, we are grateful for the financing by the Fundacion Paiz, the Norwegian Embassy, HIVOS, mixed and mastered at Mr. Music & Mr. Films, thank you very much for your tremendous support..
After four years of having worked on the creation of the album of the 20 Nawales, we traveled to Norway- we were invited to participate in the Riddu Riddu festival of the indigenous peoples of the Sapmi nation in 2016.

Balam Ajpu had the honor of opening for the acclaimed Spanish Hip Hopper Kase O, on his tour ¨El Circulo¨ in Latin America, held on March 8, 2018. That was the last concert of Balam Ajpu as a trio, we are currently a duet, MCHE & Tzutu Kan.
We honor the great master Tat Pedro Cruz, because we had the honor to walk by his side, in the words of Aj Pop, Aj Q'ij Tat Pedro Cruz "whatever happens, always with Love" (Photo of Tat Pedro goes here).

Press notes:
LOS ANGELES TIMES (2016) Los Angeles Times
"Visitors to Guatemala may get a new glimpse into a pre Columbian language through a group of musician who use hip hop to spread the massage of the ancient tongue.
The group Balam Ajpu is to release Tribute to the 20 nawales, its first album, on March 20. The songs are in Tz'utujil and Spanish and also include such sounds as bird song and water, the album pays homage to Guatemala's 22 provinces plus Mexico's Chiapas and Yucatan, where the Maya flourished until about 900 AD.
"Balam Ajpu: Mixing ceremonial mantras, instrumentation referencing ancient Mayan traditions, and "la Kultura Hip Hop," the group's 20-track album 20 Nawales is a glance at Balam Ajpu's seamless merging between indigenous rites and contemporary digital music elements. "
KEXP (2019) USA.
"Music that matters, vol 690 - indigenous peoples' Day. (Track Batz)
CHILLY from el SONIDO: Music from B'alam Ajpu from Guatemala, combines Hip Hop and Mayan rhythms from the record's tribute to the 20 Nawales containing 20 songs that recover and reinterpret ancient calendar knowledge. The album features Spanish and indigenous languages."  

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