Paying Homage Through Music

At El Centro’s stage for DDLM, one of the MC’s, El Vez, is paying homage to his friend, Kim, a musician, performer, and somebody very dear to him who cannot be fully encapsulated in words. (Photo taken by John Petrovich, group 8).

As the celebration of Dia de Los Muertos continues at El Centro, we are paying homage through group song and performance. Above, we are paying homage to Kim, a musician from Los Angeles who left the world to early, and we are listening to transformations of her music by her dear friend.

At El Centro’s stage for DDLM, a performer from Bellingham is emulating and paying their respects to Selena. (Photo taken by John Petrovich, group 8).

Above, everybody comes together in song and laughter as Selena makes her way to and down the centre aisle in song dance. I personally cannot place the songs because of my lack of Spanish, though I do see couples dancing with their loved ones and others watching in awe at the power of this performance.

It is amazing to see so many people joined together. Whether eating mole, learning about the ofrendas made this year, or face-painting, we are all in celebration of our loved ones return. There is nobody with a frown on their face, a sharp contrast to the modes of grieving permitted in euro-centric society. Rather than “just dealing with it,” we are collectively remembering, mourning, and healing. I am truly thankful for this space.

Plaza Roberto Maestas After School Program Presents Their Community Ofrenda

Photo of the Plaza Roberto Maestas ofrenda taken by John Petrovich (Group 8) at El Centro de La Raza in Seattle, Washington for Dio de Los Muertos.

Coming into El Centro it was apparent the excitement of the middle schoolers who were standing in front of their ofrenda, taking pictures and saying “frijoles.” Everyone here here can feel the energy in the air. We are remembering those who left this earth temporarily and celebrating their momentary return.

The after school program commissioned this ofrenda to celebrate the indigenous history that is inextricably tied to this deeply rooted cultural tradition of Day of the Dead. Among the colorful fabrics and flowers you will find Loteria cards, the significance of which demonstrate that even in the hardest times, you can always find happiness and balance through traditions that bring you back to your culture. After all, “La Cultura Cura.”