Thursday, October 25, 2007

Three excellent Dia de los Muertos books for children

I wanted to show three of the best Dia de los Muertos books for children (and adults, too). Calavera Abecedario: A Day of the Dead Alphabet Book by illustrator/author Jeanette Winter is filled with fantastic illustrations. The alphabet portion is wrapped within the story of three generations of family that make paper mache calavera for Dia de los Muertos. A great choice for young ones, but even if you don't have children at home, it's still an excellent choice and very fun.

Calavera Abecedario

Day of the Dead complements Calavera Abecedario perfectly. Jeanette Winter provided illustrations for Tony Johnston's book, which is the about the the preparation and celebration of Dia de los Muertos.Ideal for ages 4-8.

Day of the Dead

The Festival of Bones / El Festival de los Calaveras by Luis San Vicente is a fun one, with lots of nods to the woodcuts of Jose Guadalupe Posada. Presented in English and Spanish, the skeletons come to life and will delight your children. Appropriate for ages 5 to 8.

The Festival of Bones

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Esqueletos from Cesar Ivan to go on sale downtown; paintings at Lumenbrite Café

I received a nice email from El Paso artist Cesar Ivan that he'll be selling his handmade skeletons at the downtown Dia de los Muertos festivities. Think I'll have to get one! They look great!

Also, here's a link to a Dia de los Muertos poem by Cesar, as well as some of his Dia de los Muertos-inspired paintings.

Cesar Ivan paintings

Cesar is showing some of his paintings at Lumenbrite Café, so check 'em out!

Monday, October 08, 2007

2007 Dia de los Muertos events at Centro Mayapan

One of El Paso's best places to learn about Dia de los Muertos is at Centro Mayapan. This year's festivities will be held on Saturday, November 3 from 3 to 10PM.

One of the best parts of Centro Mayapan's Dia de los Muertos event is the music. This year, the theme is based around the the musical style of son jarocho, which comes from Veracruz, Mexico. If you're not familiar with son jarocho, it is amazingly complex folk music played on instruments such as the requinto jarocho, a four-stringed guitar similar to a ukelele and the arpa (harp). Popular son jarocho songs include El Cascabel ("The Little Bell") and La Bamba. I play sones jarochos and sones huestecos (another style of Mexican folk music) on my porch whenever I'm relaxing or working outside. They are both styles that I have truly come to love.

The group performing at this year's Centro Mayapan Dia de los Muertos event is Son de Madera — one of the most renowned son jarocho groups. I have two of their albums, and I can certainly say that they are one of the best groups in my collection.

Centro Mayapan will also have altars, food — including many styles of molé (a blend of chocolate and chile) and champurrado (a sweet, hot beverage made from cornmeal), vendors and dancing.

Centro Mayapan is located at 2000 Texas Avenue. For more information, call Lorenzo at 533-9710.

I'll see you there!