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La rappeuse mexicaine Mare Advertencia Lírika. © Gerardo Ramírez / Secretaría de Cultura de CDMX - CC BY-NC-SA

Languages of the world : Mexico’s Zapotec rap scene

Young mexicans rap to preserve their language

With 68 native languages and 364 linguistic varieties, Mexico is one of the world’s most culturally and linguistically diverse countries. However, due to discrimination suffered by their speakers, 70% of these languages are in danger of extinction. The Zapoteco family is a gathering of around 50 firmly related indegeous mesoamerican dialects spoken by the zapotec individuals in the southwestern area of Mexico. In the Southwestern region of Mexico, the state of Oaxaca is the cradle of zapotec culture. Juchitán de Zaragoza, located on the southeast of Oaxaca, is a melting pot of the arts, where youth has increasingly attempted to salvage the lenguaje en peligro de desaparición. 

One band that goes by Juchirap (Rap Zapoteco) whose purpose is to use music to rescue an indigenous language. This Mexican band performs songs with lyrics written in the language’s native tongue, causing it to gain popularity. Through their poetic assembly of rhymes and melodies, they also portray their struggle against prejudice, a historical problem that has relegated indigenous groups in all sectors of the country. They have performed at various festivals and cultural venues, where their lyrics have won the hearts of those who listen to them.

Juchirap - Ladxidua Ripapa


Mare Avertencia Lirika is also a Zapotec rap artist from the province of Oaxaca, often described as  «The voice of revolution» . She is reclassifying Rap, trying to break its correlation to brutality and misogyny. Growing up in an area of Oaxaca with a high pace of migration and marginalization, Mare’s youth was not easy. However, rap allowed her to articulate and express her native roots, as well as her feminist values. Through rap, she is re-claiming her community’s traditions, and re-defining gender norms.

Mare Advertencia - Bienvenidx


What do you think? Is music an efficient medium to uphold cultures at risk?

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The authors : 

Jose Luis Herrera Saenz was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico. He is currently pursuing his undergraduate studies at the university of SciencesPo Paris Reims Campus, majoring in political humanities. His fields of interest are gender studies, linguistics, political philosophy and sociology.

Angelika Lattanzio, Sciences Po Paris student studying Economics and Sociology with a minor in International Relations. Experience in Model United Nations, with a strong interest in Management Consulting. Has a strong interest in studies of gender and society, and particularly how these can be seen in arts such as literature and reflected through economic trends.


This article is a result of a collaborative project between #AuxSons and Alejandro Abbud Torres Torija, lecturer at Sciences Po Paris Campus Reims, and regular contributor to #AuxSons. As part of the class “Languages of the World/ World of Languages”, international students from Sciences Po Paris Campus Reims prepared articles presenting contemporary music from different parts of the world in connection with recent socio-political events.


Photo : La rappeuse mexicaine Mare Advertencia Lírika. © Gerardo Ramírez / Secretaría de Cultura de CDMX - CC BY-NC-SA

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