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A Sonic Altar: Celebrating The Day Of The Dead

A woman disguised as "Catrina" poses for a photo in Guadalajara, Mexico. La Catrina is the Mexican representation of death, created 100 years ago by Mexican artist Jose Guadalupe Posada. i i

hide captionA woman disguised as "Catrina" poses for a photo in Guadalajara, Mexico. La Catrina is the Mexican representation of death, created 100 years ago by Mexican artist Jose Guadalupe Posada.

Hector Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images
A woman disguised as "Catrina" poses for a photo in Guadalajara, Mexico. La Catrina is the Mexican representation of death, created 100 years ago by Mexican artist Jose Guadalupe Posada.

A woman disguised as "Catrina" poses for a photo in Guadalajara, Mexico. La Catrina is the Mexican representation of death, created 100 years ago by Mexican artist Jose Guadalupe Posada.

Hector Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images

Particularly in Mexico, it's tradition among those who celebrate the Day Of The Dead (Dia De Los Muertos) to build an altar to those who who have passed, with offerings and remembrances. This week, we've decided to build a sonic altar with a list of songs by beloved artists we've lost this year (Edie Gorme and Bebo Valdes) as well as for people we love who left us this year whom we miss so much.

Pan De Muerto, a traditional Day Of The Dead bread.

hide captionPan De Muerto, a traditional Day Of The Dead bread.

Jasmine Garsd/Jasmine Garsd

As usual, we asked our listeners to pitch in, and we add some of their music and memories to our musical altar. The range is amazing, from Mexican boleros to Argentine tangos.

Join us for an eclectic and heartfelt episode of Alt.Latino, and let us know which songs you'd like to add to our musical altar.

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En México, especialmente, es tradición entre los que celebran el Día de los Muertos, poner un altar para los difuntos, con ofrendas y recuerdos.

Esta semana decidimos poner un altar sonoro, reuniendo una serie de canciones escritas por y para personas que amamos y que perdimos este año (Edie Gorme y Bebo Valdes) y a quienes extrañamos tanto.

Como siempre, pedimos a nuestros escuchas que nos dieran ideas y agregamos su música y sus recuerdos a nuestro altar musical. La variedad es sorprendente, desde boleros mexicanos hasta tangos argentinos.

Quédense con nosotros para disfrutar un episodio muy ecléctico y desde el corazón y dígannos qué canciones les gustaría añadir a nuestro altar musical.

A Sonic Altar: Celebrating The Day Of The Dead

Cover for 440 Antología

Juan Luis Guerra

  • Album: 440 Antología
  • Song: Amapola

Ellie Marranzini sent us this beautiful dedication: "Hi Jasmine and Felix. Last summer, my younger sister, my dad and I lost my mom unexpectedly. She was born in Venezuela to Ukrainian parents, and when she met my dad, who is Dominican, she fell in love with him, as well as Dominican culture, food, and music. My sister and I were raised listening to Juan Luis Guerra, and nothing reminds me of her more than his music. I would like to dedicate his song "Amapola" to her. The song's lyrics make me hopeful that I will one day see my mom again, and remind me that she is all around me."

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Little Joe Y La Familia

  • Album: Indita Mia
  • Song: Indita Mia

Becky Pasillas wrote to us: "My 103 year old grandmother (my family called her "Geny") passed away early this year, and the song I'd pick for her is "Indita Mia." It was one of my Geny's favorite songs; I heard stories that my grandfather would serenade her with this song. At her funeral, my dad and his siblings sang it to her one last time."

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Cover for Canta a Mexico

Chavela Vargas

  • Album: Canta a Mexico
  • Song: En el Último Trago

We're dedicating "En El Ultimo Trago" by Chavela Vargas to Marvette Pérez anthropologist and curator of Latino History and Culture at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

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  • "En el Último Trago"
  • Album: Canta a Mexico
  • Artist: Chavela Vargas
  • Label: Orfeon
  • Released: 1995
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Cover for La Bala

Ana Tijoux

  • Album: La Bala
  • Song: Shock

Dania Cabrera wrote in: "I would like to remember my colleague and friend, Marina Matzner. She was a teacher in an immersion school. Lover of bilingualism, multiculturalism, politics, red wine, soccer and of course her native country, Chile. I would like to play for her the song Shock by Ama Tijoux. Marina has inspired us to defend and give voice to students"

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  • "Shock"
  • Album: La Bala
  • Artist: Ana Tijoux
  • Label: Nacional Records
  • Released: 2012
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Cover for Serie de Oro: Grandes Exitos

Tita Merello

  • Album: Serie de Oro: Grandes Exitos
  • Song: Arrabalera

We added Tita Merello's "Arrabalera" to our list, in memory of the wonderful Teshima Walker. Teshima was executive producer of NPR's Tell Me More, and a godmother to Alt.Latino.

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  • "Arrabalera"
  • Album: Serie de Oro: Grandes Exitos
  • Artist: Tita Merello
  • Label: EMI Music Distribution
  • Released: 2003
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Eydie Gorme

  • Album: 24 Grandes Canciones
  • Song: Historia de un Amor

Eydie Gorme had most of her successes as a vocalist with big band music and as a Las Vegas entertainer but she was also beloved, among Chicanos 'of a certain age', for albums she did in the mid 1960's with the legendary Mexican vocal group Trio Los Panchos.

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  • "Historia de un Amor"
  • Album: 24 Grandes Canciones
  • Artist: Eydie Gorme
  • Label: Sony Music Distribution
  • Released: 1994
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Bebo & Cigala

  • Album: Blanco y Negro [CD/DVD]
  • Song: En Aranjuez Con Tu Amor-De La Mano del Viento

Bebo Valdes was considered 'un maestro entre maestros' of Cuban music. Both his piano playing and music arranging were a central part of 20th century Cuban music. By the time he died at age 94 Bebo was beloved as much for his music as child-like smile and old world charm.

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Purchase Featured Music

  • "En Aranjuez Con Tu Amor-De La Mano del Viento"
  • Album: Blanco y Negro [CD/DVD]
  • Artist: Bebo & Cigala
  • Label: Calle 54 Records
  • Released: 2003
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