This Indigenous Soprano Didn’t Let Her Visa Rejection Break Her Dreams
For María Reyna, life is about “building little by little.” Known as “La Soprano Mixe,” Maria Reyna is a Mexican soprano singer who combines operatic techniques with the indigenous languages of Mexico. Her story is one of commitment and resilience.
A native of Metate, Santa María Tlahuitoltepec, María Reyna González López moved to Guadalajara to study Spanish. While working as a maid, she took singing lessons with professor Joaquín Garzón, who realized that the young woman had the voice of a soprano.
A unique talent
Thus, Reyna began to educate her voice to perform operas in Italian. She studied at the Diocesan School of Sacred Music, but she always knew that, in addition to singing, her culture was her thing.
In 2012, Reyna and Garzón began working on a song in Mixe titled “Tääk’Unk” (“Madrecita” in Spanish), dedicated to the singer’s mother, who only speaks in the indigenous language. Once uploaded to YouTube, the song became a hit.
After singing as a guest in Oaxaca, Reyna realized this was her calling.
“It was at that moment when I said, ‘This is what I’m going to dedicate myself to, to sing in Mixe and other languages,'” the singer told Forbes.
Social media do their thing
Since then, María Reyna has gone viral on social networks. She has been invited to sing in places like the Chapultepec Castle, the Manuel M. Ponce Hall of the Palacio de Bellas Artes, and different Mexican states. She was also invited to Chile and received up to three invitations to New York.
However, the U.S. embassy refused her visa, and she had to postpone her trip north — until now.
After working on her first album in Mexico City, the Mixe soprano finally got her travel permit and is now triumphing on the stages of New York.
“Being in this city [New York] means a lot to me because five years ago, when I couldn’t come because they didn’t allow me to travel, I didn’t give up, and I thought I was going to make it in the end,” María Reyna told Mexican newspaper El Universal.
“The only thing I knew was that I had to keep trying, so I waited. So I waited. And time has paid off because these first days of being here, of being able to step on these streets, make me feel that this is an inspiration.”
For this Mixe Soprano, life has been a journey
Now with a Mixe Opera album under her arm, Maria Reyna has other concerts scheduled in cities like Delaware and Connecticut.
“That’s exactly what life is about, building little by little,” she added.
“I understand that everything has to happen over time,” she said. “I started with an audience of 10 people, and then it was 100, 500, and thousand.” María Reyna even got to be a guest at the National Auditorium with 10,000 people.
“And it doesn’t matter if you are inside your house, a venue, or a theater. That’s why I’m not afraid of whether or not a place where I perform is full.”