“The Mixtec Skylark” sings in native languages

Edith Ortiz sings opera to promote indigenous languages from Mexico

Photo: Taken from @edithortiz_
English 12/07/2017 19:31 Mexico Actualizada 19:43

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Originally from the Mixteca Alta in the state of Oaxaca and very proud of speaking her mother tongue, the soprano Edith Ortiz, better known as "The Mixtec Skylark," sings opera to promote and keep alive Mexico's indigenous languages.

The indigenous woman never imagined stepping on the most important stages of the country or traveling to different nations of the world to take a bit of the cultural diversity that exists in Mexico.

"I feel very proud of speaking my language because it has opened many doors for me, I have had the opportunity to sing in my country and also abroad, thanks to it I am where I am now (...) Thanks to speaking and singing in my mother tongue I have known very beautiful places," she said to Notimex.

She has sung the music of her native region in Mayan, Nahuatl, Zapotec, Mazatec, and Mixtec, in stages such as the National Auditorium, the Palace of Fine Arts, the Castle of Chapultepec and the Zocalo in Mexico City.

In addition, she has traveled to various states like Oaxaca, Puebla, Morelos, Hidalgo, Chiapas, Guerrero, Aguascalientes, Coahuila, Guadalajara, Sonora, Sinaloa and Baja California.

Among the songs that Edith Ortiz sings in Mixtec are "Ni kentari ñuri vii" (I left my Town), "ita a yuku" (Flower of the Field), "yaa Ndikandy" (Music of the Sun), "titu xa'an nuri" (Bésame mucho); in Mayan, "ba'alam" (Jaguar); in Mazatec, "ndaxkié" (Toad River); in Nahuatl, "kualtzin il huicatl" (Cielito Lindo); and in Zapotec, "Tifeu" (The Ugly).

The sounds of the indigenous languages of this country not only stay in Mexico but she has taken them to the American cities of Seattle and Washington, as well as to New Zealand and Spain, where she has surprised her public.

Today, the Mixtec Skylark feels fortunate to have been born in the indigenous community of Villa Guadalupe Victoria, San Miguel el Grande, Tlaxiaco, and also that her parents taught her their mother tongue.

She has sung since her childhood but studied at the "Miguel Cabrera" Art Education Center in the city of Oaxaca and then at the National School of Music of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

"A joy to sing to my land in its language"

Edith Ortiz encourages indigenous people not to be ashamed or afraid to speak in their mother tongue.

"It is very important to continue promoting our native language ... Through music and singing we must make it public, although it is already known in some places, we must give it that importance, give that love to our people, that love to our language, as well as gratitude to our grandparents who have given us this tradition," she says.

She points out that Mexicans are very fortunate to have a great cultural diversity and that is why "we must value all this ... it is always important to continue teaching this to the new generations so that it is always valued," she says.