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La Llorona on the Folklife Today Podcast

Halloween and Día de Muertos are almost here! So, believe it or not, Season 4, Episode 1 of the Folklife Today Podcast, our 2021 Halloween and Día de Muertos episode, is ready for listening! It features interviews about the Weeping Woman, La Llorona, a spirit from Latin American folklore, plus related songs and stories. The people interviewed are Juan Díes, leader of the Sones de Mexico Ensemble, Camille Acosta, who wrote her masters thesis on La Llorona before interning at AFC, and Allina Migoni, AFC’s Latinx subject specialist. This blog contains links to download the podcast, background on our guests, and links to full audio of the songs.

Growing Up with La Llorona

This is the fourth blog post in a series about La Llorona, the Weeping Woman, a spirit that haunts the folklore of Mexico and other Latin American countries. We’ll present comments on the legend by the writer Rudolfo Anaya, the scholar Domino Renee Perez, our former intern and Llorona expert Camille Acosta, pioneering Costa Rican writer Manuel Argüello Mora, and Esperanza Sernas, a restaurant worker interviewed in 1977 by fieldworker Philip George for AFC’s Chicago Ethnic Arts Project. This blog also contains one of the most gruesome traditional descriptions of La Llorona we’ve seen so far! The whole series will be published in time for Día de Muertos (aka Día de los Muertos) 2021, so stay tuned….

Music from Homegrown 21 on the Folklife Today Podcast

Summer is over, and autumn is here. That means the Homegrown 2021 concert series is also drawing to a close. We put a selection of songs from the series on the Folklife Today podcast, with commentary from me, John Fenn, series producer Thea Austen, and AFC interns Kennedi Johnson and Camille Acosta.  That way, if you haven’t had a chance to watch the videos, you can download and listen wherever you like to hear your podcasts. As usual, there are links to the podcast itself, plus links to relevant blog posts, videos, and audio selections in this post.

La Llorona: Storytelling for Halloween and Día de Muertos

La Llorona, the Weeping Woman, is a spirit that haunts the folklore of Mexico and other Latin American countries. In some versions she’s a ghost, but in others she’s an immortal wanderer, not dead but not really alive either. So far in the series, we’ve introduced the legend, given some of its history, explored songs related to La Llorona, and discussed the story’s role in growing up. Now, we present a telling of the tale. The post contains audio and a transcript of a performance by Joe Hayes, one of the best known storytellers from the American southwest. Hayes’s bilingual Spanish-English storytelling has earned him a distinctive place among America’s professional storytellers.

La Llorona: Roots, Branches, and the Missing Link from Spain

This is the second blog post in a series about La Llorona, the weeping woman who haunts Mexican and other Latinx cultures. The series will be published in time for Día de Muertos 2021. In this post, I’ll show some of the story’s long history, especially in Mexico. I’ll give links to primary sources from the 1570s showing the story was already present among Indigenous Mexicans at that time and earlier. I’ll also present what I believe is new evidence of a strong link for some La Llorona stories with Spain.

New Story Map on the AFC’s Juan B. Rael Collection: Tonada del País

To celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we are happy to announce the newest addition to the growing group of AFC story maps. Tonada del País: The American Folklife Center’s Juan B. Rael Collection was co-produced with 2021 Folklife Intern Camille Acosta and John Fenn. Click here to view the Tonada del País Story Map Drawing on […]

La Llorona: An Introduction to the Weeping Woman

In Latin America, in Spanish-speaking communities in the U.S., and especially in Mexico, no ghost story is told as often, discussed as enthusiastically, or interpreted as widely, as the legend of La Llorona. With this introduction, AFC kicks off a short series of blogs on La Llorona stories and songs between now and Día de Muertos

2021 Folklife Interns: Welcome Aboard!

The American Folklife Center staff is thrilled to welcome our 2021 Folklife Interns: Camille Acosta and Kennedi Johnson. It was a competitive application pool this year, with over 350 candidates—and extremely difficult to make final selections! They’ve both officially “on-boarded” at this point and are navigating the challenges and opportunities of doing a full-time internship […]