Xtoles (K’ay yum K’in/Canto al Sol/Song to the Sun)


An arrangement of a traditional Mayan song, sung in the ancient Mayan language.



Composer’s Notes:

There is a struggle between some musicologists about the time that “Los Xtoles” was created. Some of them say that it is the oldest Mayan song known and was chanted by warriors in praise of the Mayan Sun God, and others say that it is a piece from late 19th century.

In any case, this is a wonderful folk Mayan song based on a pentatonic melody; since most of the popular songs were learned by heart, and passed from generation to generation, there are at least two versions of the same song and this arrangement integrates both melodies in two specific environments. The intro is “the call,” an imitation of a CARACOL (conch shell) and the idea is to recreate the sound of these the pre-Hispanic instruments and mix them with the voices.

OCARINA – flute, made of mud
MARACA – maraca (shaker)
QUIJADA DE BURRO – donkey jaws
TAMBORES – drums
TUNKUL – Hollow log with two tongue-pieces done with grooves in the same log. It’s played with a stick that has rubber at the end.


Conex conex palexen

xicubin xicubin yokolkin,

Conex conex palexen

xicubin xicubin yakatal.

Let’s go guys
the sun is setting.
Let’s go guys
the night is coming.

(Vamos muchachos
El sol se oculta
Vamos muchachos
La noche llega.)

Additional information



Year Composed

Date of Premiere