Carlos Chávez’s Sinfonía india* (1936) is built on several Mexican Indian melodies, and two of them are of Yaqui origin. The second main theme of the symphony, a Yaqui melody, comes in at rehearsal number 27 in the score (Allegretto cantabile), at 2:15 and again at number 73 (Andante con moto), at 8:28.
*video shows orchestral score
Jon Anderson’s album Toltec (1996) includes two songs sung by a children’s choir in the Yaqui language, a Uto-Aztecan language spoken in Sonora. The first of these is “Semati Siyonpme.” It uses the same tune as above. This time with lyrics. Note that the two versions of the tune are slightly different.
With what little information on the Yaqui language I could scrounge up online, “semati” means ‘nice’. I couldn’t find any clue about “siyonpme,” though. This song is also in the mix on the introductory track. The second Yaqui song is “Maazo, Maazo,” which means ‘the deer’.
Usually my Google-fu is as powerful as anyone’s, but I’m stumped finding any further background on “Semati Siyonpme,” how Carlos Chávez acquired it, where did the lyrics in Anderson’s version come from and what do they mean… Someone gave the lyrics a rough-and-ready phonetic transcription by ear, but I couldn’t match anything in it with what little information I could scrounge on the Yaqui language. I don’t imagine that the English lyrics that Jon sings in counterpoint to the kids have anything to do with the original lyrics, so that’s probably no help.