Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Mayan Language Institute 2015 Students Collaborate on K'iche' Blues song

On the 2015 Mayan Language Institute program in Guatemala, students and teachers collaborated in writing and performing a K’iche’ song for fun. It was sung in the indigenous language of K’iche’ and was performed in the town of Nahualá, Sololá, Guatemala. It is based on “Kind Hearted Woman Blues” by Robert Johnson (1936).

Thank you to Kit Walker (MA Candidate, University of Georgia) for sharing this performance, and all others who participated!

Here are the lyrics with a loose translation:
Pa le ab’ix kinchakun wi’, kinb’isoj le wixoqil (Workin’ in the milpa, missin’ my lady)
Pa le ab’ix kinchakun wi’, kinb’isoj le wixoqil (Workin’ in the milpa, missin’ my lady)
Rajawaxik le rajil, kinloq’b‘ej le ratz’yaq pa nimaq’ij. (But I need the money to buy her some nice clothes for the fair)

Maj sutz’ kamik, sib’alaj uwaq’ij (Ain’t cloudy today, sun shinin’ so bright)
Maj sutz’ kamik, sib’alaj uwaq’ij (Ain’t cloudy today, sun shinin’ so bright)
Na kinkoch’ taj, q’aq’ kuna’ le wij. (I can’t stand it, I’m gettin’ so hot)

Xinto’taj che le nuchak, nuloq’om uloq jun popapo’t che le wixoqil (I done got paid for my work, I’ve bought a nice huipil for my lady)
Xinto’taj che le nuchak, nuloq’om uloq jun popapo’t che le wixoqil (I done got paid for my work, I’ve bought a nice huipil for my lady)
Aretaq xinok pa le wo’ch, maj chik le wixoqil; b’enaq ruk’ jun chik achi (But when I walk in the house, she’s gone! Gone out with another man.)

Pa le ab’ix kinchakun wi’, maj chik le wixoqil (Workin’ in the milpa, my lady’s gone.)
Pa le ab’ix kinchakun wi’, nuxekeb’am jun popapo’t pa le ab’ix (Workin’ in the milpa, I’ve brought that nice huipil with me)
Wiye’m jun q’apoj ali, kinsipaj le popapo’t che arech kok k’ak’a wixoqil. (Waitin’ on a young lady — I’ll give the huipil to her that she’ll be my new wife!)”

Guatemala + People
Maureen E. Shea
Associate Professor - Spanish & Portuguese
Guatemala + News