Musician María Viktoría laughs heartily on a bright day in Reykjavík, anticipating her upcoming travels to the United States and Guatemala. She plans to take part in traditional cacao ceremonies there—and to record a new song on the subject.
“San Marcos is a place that I am really excited to go to,” she smiles. “That’s where all spiritual seekers go to find the truth—to connect to themselves, and work with cacao and different herbs. I am going to go there and explore my consciousness, and do some inner work.”
Before heading to Guatemala, María Viktoría will go to a conference in Philadelphia, where the Girls Rock Camp Alliance has their headquarters.
With her will be two other members of the Icelandic Stelpur Rokka! Organisation, which seeks to empower girls and the gender queer youth through music.
“We’re gonna sleep on mattresses on the floor with sleeping bags, like in a camp,” says María. “We’ll do workshops and networking, get to know each other, and learn from each other. Then I’m going to spend a few days in New York City, just to use the opportunity. I have a few days of preparation before I go to Guatemala. It’s gonna be exciting.”
Song for the cacao goddess
After that, María Viktoría will spend roughly a month in Guatemala. “I have a good friend who lives in Antigua, running a permaculture group,” she explains. “Among other things, they have a studio. I’ll go there to record a song for a CD that they’re releasing as a fundraiser. The theme of the album is cacao, and the cacao goddess from the Mayan tradition.”
Dating back to Mayan and Aztec periods, cacao was seen as medicine that connects you with your inner child—to make you curious about the world, and to dance and enjoy yourself. It is still used today.
The writing process of this song was different from María’s usual approach. Instead of writing intuitively, she had to write a song about a specific topic. It came into existence through three simple chords and a cheerful melody. “I wanted it to be a celebration, like a party,” she recalls. “Usually my songs can be a bit dark. I didn’t want this to be this kind of song. I wanted this to be fun.”
The theme of the song is deeply influenced by the Southern American culture that María Viktoría came to admire during her travels to Peru, Guatemala and Bolivia. “Their religion is worshipping and learning from nature, which I think we have lost a bit in the Western world,” she notes. “We just look at God up above but we do not see that god is a part of us, of nature… and of everything. Music and the dancing is very rich in that culture. Kids start to dance at the same time they start to read. Here in Iceland, people can only dance after three beers.”
Apart from her Guatemala recording, María Viktoría is also planning on releasing an EP this year with a following full-length album next year. It’s clear that the extraordinary times are just beginning for this curious young musician.