They say in the Mayan tradition that “when the tunkuluchu sings, the Indian dies”. This phrase arises from a legend that explains the origin of the superstition against owls as birds that announce death, a story that now the harpist Cesar Secundino led to the realm of music with the work “The song of the Tunkuluchu”.

The piece was created with the support of the Stimulus Program for Artistic Creation and Development (PECDA) Coahuila 2021 and in addition to the theme itself, which he explores as a programmatic composition —a type of music that seeks to evoke ideas and represent scenes and images in the listener—, part of the mariachi and the fusion with jazz to make his proposal.


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The main theme of this work was presented as a soloist last Tuesday at the Center for Musical Studies “Jonás Yeverino Cárdenas”as part of the activities of the Scholar’s Month of the Ministry of Culture and in coordination with the Municipal Institute of Culture of Saltillo.

The event opened with a brief explanation of the project, in which Secundino recounted the myth in which the Tunkuluchú, a proud and wise bird, is invited to a party and between drunkenness and harassment by a Mayan makes a fool of himself. In revenge, he decides to use her gift of smell to learn to discern the smell of death and thus torment men by singing when their time is about to come.


“The work I did for PECDA is describing that story, but through music, there are no lyrics, it’s only through music,” said the musician before performing this song in the dark, because during the first half of the concert there was a blackout in the enclosure, but with the help of the flashlights of the telephones of the assistants, and the professionalism of the lagoon, the show continued.

$!Much of the presentation was done in the dark.

Much of the presentation was made in the dark.

“It is a piece that seeks to merge the mariachi with the jazz and give importance to the mariachi”, explained the artist in an interview with VANGUARDIA at the end of the event, “the mariachi It is very pigeonholed in serenading and accompanying singers, this is a composition to demonstrate the possibilities of all the instruments and the instrumentalists that are part of the mariachi”.

Although, since he could not count on the accompaniment of the mariachi Angels of Mexicothe work was not played in its entirety, the complete official recording of this work can be heard through all music streaming platforms.


$!The harpist continued despite the blackout.

The harpist continued despite the blackout.

“I have studied a lot about composition and orchestration, but they don’t teach you how to orchestrate for a mariachi”, he commented on the challenge of doing this work, “for me it was quite a challenge because they don’t teach you how to write for a guitarrón, for a vihuela, for a violin that is played completely differently than in an orchestra”.

Likewise, the challenge was also for the musicians who accompanied him, since they had to adapt to the new rhythms and the proposal of secondarybut despite the resistance at the end they also ended up jazzing up.

Source: Vanguardia

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J. A. Allen

Author, blogger, freelance writer. Hater of spiders. Drinker of wine. Mother of hellions.

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