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Alt.Latino Lays Out A Sonic Altar For Dia De Los Muertos

Join us as we celebrate Day Of The Dead, <em>Alt.Latino</em> style.
Omar Torres
AFP/Getty Images
Join us as we celebrate Day Of The Dead, Alt.Latino style.

A friend who lives in Mexico just wrote on her Facebook page to wonder whether the dead are hip to social media. She's moved around so much in the last year that she wants to make sure the people she's lost over the years know where to find her.

Such is the nature of the Mexican folk tradition of Dia De Los Muertos, which is partially based on the Nahuatl (Aztec) concept of duality: "I am alive. I am dead. In both cases, I am."

I learned that in a class on pre-Columbian mythology back in college. It stuck with me, so the idea of creating tributes to the departed has never struck me as terribly morbid. In fact, it was a comfort when I lost a cousin who was my own age back in the early 1990s. Or when I lost other close friends, or people I didn't know but greatly admired.

To me, it makes perfect sense for Alt.Latino to create this sonic altar, which marks the loss of people who've been loved and admired by ourselves and our listeners alike. Dia De Los Muertos is a time for reflection on life, not death. Here, we do it with music to remind us that life and death are causes for celebration, whether with laughter or with bittersweet tears.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Felix Contreras is co-creator and host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.