El Aire Baila


SATB Choir (divisi), Piano, & Percussion (at least 2 players)

Note: This is a digital score (PDF).

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The Story

Humberto Ak’abal was one of the most important poetic voices from Latin America. A member of the K’iche’ Mayan community in Guatemala, Ak’abal wrote with honesty, intensity, and passion, and has inspired millions around the world. Reading Humberto’s poetry is like living through the depths of history, like being gut-punched with core-shaking truths, like dancing with water, trees, and birds; he was a true Mayan Mystic. It is a great honor to have spent time with Humberto’s family and to be dear friends with his widow, Mayulí, to whom I dedicate this piece. This jubilant work takes cues from Ak’abal’s playful poem, “El Aire Baila” (The Air Dances), to paint a colorful journey into the poet’s imagination and the swirling air around us.

SATB Choir (divisi), Solo voice (improvised), Piano, & Percussion (Shakers, Clave, and optional congas).


Clemson University Cantorei. Dr. Anthony Bernarducci, conductor.


El Aire Baila by Humberto Ak’abal

El aire baila
extiende sus alas y da vueltas.

El aire es un pájaro grande,
vuela alto,
arriba del cielo;
por eso
solo sentimos el soplido de sus alas.

[English Translation:

The air dances
spreads its wings and soars round and round.

The air is a large bird,
flying high,
above the sky;
that's why
we only feel the blowing of its wings.]

Trans. Jake Runestad




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