Dίa de los Muertos concert brings WC community together to appreciate Latin music

By Ava Turner

Elm Staff Writer

On Wednesday, Nov. 4, the William James Forrum and World Languages and Cultures Department held a concert to celebrate Dίa de los Muertos.

Associate Professor of Spanish and Director of the Black Studies Minor Dr. Elena Deanda-Camacho and Assistant Professor of Spanish Dr. Martín Ponti hosted the event.

Dr. Deanda-Camacho said that Dίa de los Muertos is a time in which “the dead come to visit us for three to five days.” 

According to Dr. Deanda-Camacho, Oct. 31 is the day in which children who have died come to visit. On, Nov. 1, adults who have died come to visit. On Nov. 2, all religious saints and everyone else come to visit the realm of the living.

Dr. Deanda-Camacho defines Mictlān as the “space you transition to after life on Earth” in Aztec culture. It is where the dead reside before coming to visit the living realm.

Dr. Ponti, who selected the songs, began the concert with the song “Gracias a la Vida,” by Violeta Parra, a Chillian artist. The song’s title translates to “Thanks to Life.”

Dr. Ponti then continued the concert with “La Llorona,” which is a traditional Mexican folk song with a title that translates to “The Weeping Woman.” This song is featured in the Disney Pixar film “Coco.” 

Freshman Jacob Ten Eyck-Stull said that this was his favorite song from the concert. 

The concert then featured the song “Como la Cigarra” by María Elena Walsh, a lesbian who composed the song to be a part of Argentinan protest music during the Argentine Revolution for the LGBTQ+ community.

The next song featured in the concert was “Razón de Vivir,” which translates to “Reasons to Live.” The song focuses on human rights issues in Argentina. Dr. Ponti said the song was about “the power of love and how it keeps us alive.”

Dr. Ponti then continued the concert with the song “Años,” which is a Cuban song that is part of the post Cuban revolution music movement.

The song, “Sólo Le Pido a Dios,” which is another protest song, is written by Argentinan artist, León Gieco. The title of the song translates to “I only ask of God.”

The next song to be featured in the concert was “La Calaca,” which is a Mexican song with a title that translates to “The Skeleton.” Dr. Ponti said the song comments on the fact that “no judged soul likes to be thought of in a sad way.”

The final song Dr.Ponti featured in the concert was “Todo Cambia.” The title directly translates to “Everything Changes.” The song is by Argentinian artist Mercedes Sosa.

Ten Eyck-Stull, said his main takeaway from the concert was “simply the beauty of Latin American music.”

“It is always a good idea to be culturally sensitive, and that means familiarizing yourself with as many cultures as possible,” Ten Eyck-Stull said. 

He said he thinks learning about other cultures “expands the limits of an individuals capacity to experience the world around them if they experience the many different cultures and forms of society that exist around that world.”

Dr.Ponti and Dr.Deanda-Camacho used the concert as a way to educate students on Dίa de los Muertos as well as Latin American culture through music.

Featured Photo caption: Fredy Granillo and Sergio Cilla performing for the virtual Día de los Muertos Concert event. Photo by Izze Rios.

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