Sara Curruchich

Sara Curruchich, mujer de voz con alas
By: Carolina Escobar Sarti

“Singing is like flying”, says Sara Curruchich Cúmez, a young indigenous Kaqchikel Mayan singer from San Juan Comalapa, Chimaltenango, Guatemala.

  Since coming into the world, Sara has been surrounded by the guitar and the voice of her father and the singing and whistling of her mother. Her five sisters and one brother (all older than her) were raised in a very simple home, where girls could study just like the boys.

At four years old, Sara left for school with her tiny blue rucksack on her back, and saying goodbye to her father while he performed carpentry work at home. A few minutes later, she would turn around and return home, greeting everyone as if she had gone to study. At five years old, Sara remembers a very old guitar and many nights with her father on the bench in the family's living room, the two of them lit only by candlelight. Her father would tell her "come here" and she sat to listen to him. It was those nights in semidarkness that she learned her first song. Sara studied but here childhood and adolescence were spent, like many indigenous girls in Guatemala, working in agriculture, living with the realities of discrimination and exclusion every day, studying as she could, and helping out around the house.

Every year during the month of December, her family went to sell mangers and other objects for Christmas. Being the youngest in the family, Sara sold oranges. Her father, in addition to being a farmer, was also a carpenter and an electrician, but when Sara was still a child, he began to get sick. When he later died, Sara stopped singing, and did not start again until several years later. Her songs are written to see, to feel, to dream, to live. They originate when the bird signs announcing the start of the rainy season, when it is harvest time and when the yellow corn is drying. Sara sings, helps her mother around the house and sings, shells corn and sings.

Sara likes to sing in Kaqchiquel, her mother tongue, because she feels the language best represents her family history and her people. Starting in 2011, Sara started to write many songes. Many of her songs have to do with her love and solidarity with her family. Her first song was called "Amigo (friend)" because she feels like she was never along. She then wrote "Niña (girl)" the story of how her parents met. In 2012, Sara jointed an indigenous rock group called "Survival" and that same year received an invitation to participate in the concert "Konzert Zum Ende Der Zeit" during the time of the change of the Maya calendar, with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Dresden, Germany. Throughout the 2013, Sara began to make herself known throughout Guatemala, singing her songs. In March 2014, she played in the XXX Festival of the Historic Center of Mexico in the main hall of the Palace of Fine Arts, when again she was invited to sing accompanied by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Dresden, Germany.

In 2015, Sara received the award for "Best New Artist" in the field of singing from Dante Alighieri Foundation. In March 2016, Sara released her single "Resist". Sara's music represents not only herself, but also the stories of exclusion and violence of indigenous peoples throughout the country. She wants her music to represent the value of life, not in terms of its price, but its courage, persistence and beauty.

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