The celebration of the Day of the Dead is a commemoration of ancestral origin present in all cultures of Mexico. It’s a custom that is still so alive throughout the country that UNESCO has declared it a World Cultural Heritage for its aesthetic and metaphysical dimensions, that is to say, its conception of life and death with its added artistic elements.

This festivity coincides with the end of the annual crop cycle, when corn, pumpkins, fruits and flowers are harvested and then used to prepare food and ornaments to be offered to the deceased. It is a celebration where families have the opportunity to thank and give recognition to their loved ones who have died. For this reason altars and offerings are set up both in homes and cemeteries.

The Day of the Dead is also a social celebration where food is shared among the family and with the community to strengthen a sense of identity and mutual support. This altar is dedicated to Mexican singer-songwriter Jose Alfredo Jimenez.

Between 1945 and 1969 a subtle but important change took place in Mexican ranchera music. New traditions and tendencies were incorporated, integrating the new city life with rural. It was a time of great popular composers, of which José Alfredo Jiménez was the most outstanding.

José Alfredo changed the Mexican musical scene, renovating the ranchera style with songs that glorified the handsome charro, a charmer who often gets drunk, is always in love, but is not loved in return. These songs achieved great popularity for their direct and heart-felt emotion expressed in the lyrics and the beauty of the music.

These are timeless songs whose melodies and lyrics show great artistic value and continued meaning. They are loved by all, regardless of hearers’ social background. José Alfredo died when he was only 47 years old, leaving behind a large repertoire of songs.  His songbook is a legacy for a community with no borders.


On View: Nov 01, 2016 - Dec 05, 2016

Curator: Claudia Ramírez

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