Video . . . Traditional Itza Maya Music
The Mayas were far out and funky . . . much less pragmatic than the folks in Eastern Peru.
This is the type of music you would have heard in the Southern Appalachians between around 1000 AD and 1714 AD. All of the percussion instruments, used by this band, were described by visitors to Creek towns. That large ceramic pot on the far left is a water drum. I strongly suspect that the 50 gallon ceramic pot on display in the McClung Museum at the University of Tennessee was actually a Maya water drum.
I have never heard of a Muskogean wind instrument with a gourd on the end. However, the chroniclers of the Hernando de Soto Expedition did mention that the orchestra, accompanying the Great Sun of Kusa, included wind instruments that played the same notes as bassoons. As you will soon hear, much of the Maya music simulated the sounds of nature.
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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history.Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.
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