{ subscribe_url:'//blogs.loc.gov/share/sites/library-of-congress-blogs/folklife.php' }

La Llorona on the Folklife Today Podcast

A woman in Día de Muertos makeup

Mamselle Ruiz sang “La Llorona” in this podcast episode. This is a frame of the official video for her song “Sombras.” Find the video at this link.

It’s hard to believe we’ve gone another full year under pandemic conditions, but what can we say? Another season of the Folklife Today podcast is suddenly upon us.

This also means that 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!  Find it at this page on the Library’s website, or on Stitcher, iTunes, or your usual podcatcher.

In addition to being our latest podcast announcement, this post is the fifth blog post in a series about La Llorona, the Weeping Woman, a spirit that haunts the folklore of Mexico and other Latin American countries. The series will be published in time for Día de Muertos (aka Día de los Muertos) 2021. [Find the whole series at this link!] As usual, I’ll present links to relevant blog posts, videos, and audio selections in this post.  But first:

Get your podcast here!

The main attractions on this podcast episode are our three guests:

Juan Díes is the Executive Director of Sones de México Ensemble, the country’s premier folk music organization specializing in Mexican son, including the regional styles of huapango, gustos, chilenas, son jarocho, and more. He was part of that group’s excellent Homegrown concert, which you can watch at this link, and which everyone SHOULD watch for Día de Muertos. (It features witches and devils and even part of a skeleton!)

Two men sit in chairs with microphones. One has a guitar.

Former Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera (left) and Juan Díes on the Coolidge Auditorium stage, rehearsing for their performance of September 15, 2015. Photo by Stephen Winick for AFC.

Juan also led our corrido writing workshop, and gave a lecture on corridos, which you can see at this link. And he performed as part of the Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera’s inaugural reading, whose video is embedded in this blog post.

Allina Migoni is AFC’s subject specialist on Latinx culture and a great reference librarian. She has written or been part of these previous blogs and podcasts.

Camille Acosta, one of our most recent interns, wrote her master’s thesis on La Llorona; you can read it at this link.  She’s also been part of these previous blog posts and podcasts at AFC.

Juan helped me a lot with a previous blog post about La Llorona songs, and Allina and Camille have been mentioned and quoted in the other previous La Llorona blogs. Once again, you can find them all at this link.

Six people stand on stage with many musical instruments

Sones de México Ensemble (l-r): Juan Díes, Lorena Iñiguez, Juan Rivera, Gonzalo Cordova, Eric Hines, Zacbé Pichardo. Photo by Stephen Winick for AFC.

The podcast also features four songs. The first one, Sones de Mexico Ensemble’s “La Llorona,” is exclusive to the podcast…so listen to it there, where it appears by kind permission of Sones de Mexico Ensemble!

The rest of the songs were Mamselle Ruiz’s version of “La Llorona,” which is sung in Spanish, French, and Zapotec; a son huasteco song about La Llorona, sung by Trio Aurora;  and “La Llorona Asesinada” by Navegaciones Pedro Miguel. They were all featured in my previous post about La Llorona songs, along with tons of others on the La Llorona theme, including many versions of  “La Llorona Loca” from Colombia and Mexico. That blog also includes links to the songs’ previous homes, more info about each song, and much more to build your Día de Muertos playlist. It’s the mother lode of songs about La Llorona.  Find that blog post at this link!

That brings us up to speed on the full audio and video behind the podcast.

We’ll have one more post on the blog on the La Llorona theme, a version of the story told by Joe Hayes, which will be out by Día de Muertos…watch this blog for more!

As always, thanks for reading and thanks for listening. In case you need that podcast link again…here it is!

Picante Pero Sabroso: Songs of La Llorona

This is the third 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 (aka Día de los Muertos) 2021. In this post we talk about songs associated with the La Llorona legend. I spend the most time with the traditional song from Oaxaca, which was featured recently at the GRAMMY Awards and in the movie Coco. I also discuss a widespread (and completely different) folksong called “La Llorona” in the son huasteco repertoire, and “La Llorona Loca,” a song composed in Colombia that has become a mainstay in Mexican music as well. What all La Llorona songs have in common are the themes of death, remembrance, and mourning, which makes them all appropriate for Día de Muertos or Halloween. We hope this post will be useful in building your own personal playlist for these upcoming holidays. 

Halloween Songs and Stories on the Folklife Today Podcast AND in No Depression!

Time is getting short before Halloween, so we’re combining two announcements in this one blog post! First of all, as our readers may remember, we’ve been working with No Depression, The Journal of Roots Music, which is published by the nonprofit Freshgrass Foundation. They’re publishing a column called Roots in the Archive, featuring content from the […]

Devil Songs for Halloween

In his book The Folk Songs of North America, in an introduction to one of the American Folklife Center’s finest songs about the Devil, Alan Lomax wrote:

Early America saw the Devil as a real and living personage. Rocks in New England were scarred by his hoofprints, as he carried off maidens, screaming and howling, over the hills, or came after the men who had sold their souls to him in return for money or success. […] A mountain woman tells of the last moments of her mean old husband…’I knowed he war goin’, because all the dogs from fur and nigh come around and howled. Hit wur a dark night. But plain as day, comin’ down yon side the mountain, through the bresh so thickety a butcher knife couldn’t cut hit, I seen the Devil a-comin’. He war ridin’ a coal-black cart, drivin’ a coal-black oxen. The cart come down to the door and stopped. When it come, it come empty. But when it went away, hit had a big black ball in it that war Arzy’s soul. […] Lomax’s passage serves as a fine and atmospheric introduction to our own Halloween exploration of the Devil in folksongs from the American Folklife Center archive!