Halloween and Dia de los Muertos

Dia de Muertos altar in Queretaro, Mexico.

I think I’ve lost some of my holiday spirit. At one point in my life, I lived for the end of October: halloween parties, dia de los muertos, ofrendas, costumes. Friends and I would gather and spend months making decorations for our celebrations out of paper mache, papel picado and designing graphics for our party invitations.  Lack of time and money combined with the commercialism of dia de los muertos have all contributed to my lack of enthusiasm these days.

Nopales, chiles, seeds…

The DIY element of dia de los muertos had always appealed to me. Now you can go into any old boutique, Target for that matter and come across some Mexican-looking calavera. No, thanks. These pictures I took last year in Mexico are examples of what can be done with just simple everyday objects.

Halloween and Dia de los Muertos related posts from the past.

Halloween en Mexico
Dia de los Muertos: Altares
El Pan de Muerto

Masks from Queretaro dia de muertos festival stall

Halloween’s gruesome influence on dia de muertos stalls-El Choki!

Una vampirita de Oaxaca

My grandmother and great-grandmother’s headstone, Montebello.

Altars made with cardboard and paper mache

Pan de muerto in Oaxaca

Have fun tonight, you ghouls!

Favorite Song of the Day: See You in the Boneyard

The Flesh Eaters – See You in the Boneyard

The Flesh Eaters are an American punk rock band, which formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1977. Their peak of popularity in their local underground scene was in the first half of the 1980s, during which time they contributed a song to the Return of the Living Dead soundtrack.

The Flesh Eaters’ lineup has comprised members of the notable Los Angeles bands The Plugz, X, The Blasters and Los Lobos. Vocalist Chris D. remains the only consistent member throughout the groups many periods. The band has since reformed and tours the Los Angeles area on occasion.

Found in Lincoln Heights: Little Waves

“Come on back to the water mama!”

Like a lot of other Lincoln Heights residents, I’ve moved from one rented house to another, sometimes moving one house down from the previous, sometimes one block over. All of my neighbors did the same and we’d often find ourselves neighbors again on a new street.

It seems we are all pretty settled now, our wandering ways curbed by the bad economy and the tight rental market. When we do move, it’s due to a reason not of our own choosing: eviction, gentrification and the other assorted maladies that affect the landless class.

It was in one of these houses I found this photo. I’m fairly certain it was the 1907 Craftsman house on Griffin Ave. I do remember finding the photo right when we moved in, maybe behind a drawer, in a door jam or under the carpet we pulled out. It was a treasured find which I taped to the wall as a tribute to the families that once made the house their home.

Five Feet High and Rising-Johnny Cash

“How high is the water mama?”

Favorite Video of the Week: Bjork

All Is Full Of Love (Plaid Remix)-Bjork

It’s strange but I’ve always been on the fence about Bjork. I’m not sure why, I feel like I should be a fan but with the exception of a few tunes which I absolutely love, I can’t claim to follow her music. To be honest, it’s the Plaid remix I’m most fond of in this song. This video though, wow…who knew robot love could inspire such passion?

Favorite Video(s) of the Week: Kuduro

Fofodji – Toi fais gaffe from Ben Le Pat on Vimeo.

(you will have to click the link to view the whole video)
Fofodji-Toi Fais Gaffe from the Lisbon kuduro scene. Check out the lowrider bikes, the contribution from my people!

You might remember awhile back when I was crazy over the Sound of Kuduro by Buraka Som Sistema. This was back when I was eager to share all kinds of global dance trends with you all. I kept thinking, nothing new’s come along but more likely, it’s just that I hadn’t had much time to seek these things out. And then I remembered these kuduro videos I was going to post long ago and forgot.

More on Kuduro (from Wikipedia, sorry!):

The roots of kuduro can be traced to the late 1980s when producers in Luanda, Angola started mixing African percussion samples with simple calypso and soca rhythms to create a style of music then known as “batida”. European and American electronic music had begun appearing in the market, which attracted Angolan musicians and inspired them to incorporate their own musical styles.[2] An Angolan MC, Sebem, began toasting over this and is credited with starting the genre.[3]

The name itself is a word with a specific meaning to location in the Kimbundu language, which is native to the northern portion of Angola. It has a double meaning in that it also translates to “hard ass” or “stiff bottom” in Portuguese, which is the official language of Angola. Kuduro dancing is similar to Dancehall dancing of Jamaica. It is mostly influenced by zouk, soca, and rara music genres. It also combines Western house and techno with traditional Angolan kilapanga and semba music.[4] As Vivian Host points out in her article, despite the common assumption that “world music” from non-Western countries holds no commonalities with Western modern music, Angolan kuduro does contain “elements in common with punk, deep tribal house, and even Daft Punk.”[5] It is thus the case that cultural boundaries and limitations within the musical spectrum are constantly shifting and being redefined. And though Angolan kuduro reflects an understanding and, further, an interpretation of Western musical forms, the world music category that it fits under tends to reject the idea of Western musical imperialism.[5] The larger idea here is that advancements in technology and communications and the thrust of music through an electronic medium have made transcending cultural and sonic musical structures possible. According to Blentwell Podcasts, kuduro is a “mixture of house, hip-hop, and ragga elements,”[6] which illustrates how this is at once an Angolan-local and global music. Indeed, this “musical cross-pollination”[5], as Vivian Host calls it, represents a local appropriation of global musical forms, such that the blending of different musics creates the music of a “new world.”

Costileta – Xiriri

This is a popular kuduro tune from Angola. The dancing is impressive!

Kuduro is also extremely popular in France as evidenced by this compilation clip of French youth under the kuduro spell. The dancing gets particularly good around 1:28.

Read more here: Kuduro: Techno from Angola to the World