Located on Calle 57 near Calle 50, the Museo de la Canción Yucateca is one of the great places to visit in Mérida – and fundamentally important as an archive for researching music for The Mapmaker’s Opera!
The museum was founded on November 5, 1978, at the initiative of Mrs. Rosario Caceres Baqueiro Chamomile, granddaughter of the composer Cyril Baqueiro Preve “Chan-Cyl”.
The song, ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ from Act I of the musical – which I’ve written about in a previous post – is specifically inspired by the style of music called Trova Yucateca. Of course, I’m not myself writing, or attempting to write original ‘Trova’ but adapting some of the musical elements of the style into a Broadway soundscore. At any rate, it’s not a good idea to attempt to copy the style of music made famous by such artists as Ricardo Palmerín, Augie Cardenas, Cyril Baqueiro Preve “Chan-cyl”, Ermilo Padrón López, Juan Acereto, Armando Manzanero and Pastor Cervera to mention just a few of the great names. As with Flamenco music, you have to live it, and be steeped in a music’s tradition to attempt appropriating it. I respect Trova’s style and elegeance too much to be that cavalier.
With Trova considered a “cultural heritage of the people of the Yucatan”, the museum presents recitals weekly of music from its collection. Within the museum there are also 68 oil paintings originally curated by the Yucatecan painter Alonso Gutiérrez Espinosa.
The various rooms showcase musical instruments (guitars and violins etc.) scores and lyrics, documents, papers, photographs, testimonials, medals and trophies, personal belonging and phonographs among other artefacts having belonged to the songwriters and performers represented in the collection. The Museum is also one of the largest repositories in the country; its heritage value made invaluable due to the music memorabilia donated by descendants or relatives of the most important composers and performers.