After a video of a disrespectful tourist seen climbing one of the Mayan pyramids recently became viral, it is now more important than ever to celebrate – and understand – the endless contributions Mayan culture has to society. Even to this day.
By now, I’m sure most of you have had a chance to go see “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” in theaters. If you haven’t, it is an absolute must-watch and must-listen.
Different from Kendrick Lamar’s curated set heard in the first Black Panther film, director Ryan Coogler and composer Ludwig Göransson led the way in this new sequel by creating a 15-track diverse soundtrack paying homage to the Mayan culture represented in the film.
“Laayli’ kuxa’ano’one’ ‘ by ADN Maya Colectivo (Pat Boy, Yaalen K’uj, and All Mayan Winik) is one of the original songs written for the film, and it is straight-up fire.
‘Laayli’ kuxa’ano’one’ is the embodiment of why representation matters
“Wakanda Forever” has brought a platform to a style of music from a very old and beautiful language.
To ensure the authenticity of the film’s score, Göransson traveled to Mesoamerican regions to consult with musical archaeologists. He also traveled to Mexico City and worked with Mexican musicians and auditioned ancient instruments ranging from clay flutes to percussion.
Laayli’ kuxa’ano’one (a song that was created in just two days) is so catchy, you can appreciate it without understanding the lyrics. Here’s a portion of the song translated (thanks to the interwebs) that illustrates just how powerful the song is.
Yóok’ol kin péeksikinbaj
A wu’uyiken yéetel a xibin
Kin kuxtal ichil teech ti’ anen ichil u puksi’ik’al
Chéen weenekeche’ ti’ anen ichil a náayo’ob
A wojel máaxen teen leti’ le t’aan
I move in the air
You can only feel me with your ears
I live inside of you
Inside your heart
When you sleep, when you dream of me
Do you know who I am?
In an interview for Yucatan Quadatrin, Pat Boy shared a few details about his heritage and his participation in the film.
“My last name comes from my Mayan ancestor, Jacinto Pat, who was part of the caste war, the most rebellious group, and we are still here, fighting with our voice and claiming our culture, our language,” he says.
“The producer Camilo Lara contacted us, we couldn’t believe it, they came, we talked and in two days we recorded it, we didn’t know if he would stay, we couldn’t talk much about it either due to contract issues, when we saw the announcement that he was on the soundtrack was very exciting.”
Three days after being contacted by Disney, ADN Maya Colectivo’s equipment was set up in a beautiful house in the picturesque port of Chicxulub. They were given total freedom to compose lyrics based on Namor and his culture.
Pat Boy also stated, “This would not be possible without the people who have followed us for all these years, right now everyone is asking us for interviews and I am sure that interesting things will come out, projects, meanwhile we are going to continue with the album that we have just recorded, and continue supporting the talent Maya”.
Coogler’s commitment to inclusion doesn’t go unnoticed
It’s beyond amazing how much love and commitment Ryan Coogler has shown to the Latino community by honoring the roots of the character Namor in the same way he did with T’Challa in Black Panther. This is exactly what representation is about.
It’s only a matter of time before a Namor series or film is announced. It’d be great if we can get more original Mayan music in future Marvel projects!
“Laayli’ kuxa’ano’one” is available on all streaming platforms. Make sure you check it out!