© 2023 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

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

Dia de los Muertos commemorates those who have passed.
Irene Contreras
Dia de los Muertos commemorates those who have passed.

A year ago, on Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), we mourned victims of an earthquake in Mexico City and two hurricanes that tore through Puerto Rico. This year, more names were added to those lost after Hurricane Maria — dear souls who perished partly because of Mother Nature and partly due to government neglect. Most recently, mourners are left sitting shiva after a heinous and despicable shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Lately, I have felt as if we should all mourn the death of civility and kindness as our country too often erupts into a foul brand of full-blown hatred. But the dedications I received this week for our annual Sonic Altar restored my faith in people's capacity for love — for their relatives, for their friends, and for strangers.

This year's dedications paint intimate portraits of what sounds like an amazing group of people. Fathers figure prominently this time around, which touches me profoundly. I can only hope to leave the kind of loving legacy that is on musical display for them in this week's episode of Alt.Latino.

Ultimately, Dia de los Muertos reminds us to appreciate and celebrate the best in us. When we leave our departed loved ones flowers (or maybe even a favorite beer) on our altars, we do it with our best memories of them guiding us.

/ Irene Contreras
Irene Contreras

The musical treats left on the Sonic Altar always evoke memories and smiles. It's an honor to share this every year, and we celebrate with each of you. Love will, in fact, rule the day and these times.

Special thanks to my cousin Irene Contreras of Chico, California for sharing her altar with us.

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.