Son Cosita Seria at Fandango Familiar Día de los Muertos
The collective resistance of one particular Afro Indigenous Mexican musical genre is a welcome new addition to D.C.-based artist Quique Avilés’ annual Día de los Muertos celebration. From its Spanish, Indigenous, and West African origins in Veracruz, Mexico, roughly 200 years ago, to its resurgence among Chicanos in California in the 1990s, and its revival in D.C. more than a decade ago, the genre known as son jarocho breathes social justice just as much as it does Afro Indigenous influence. Son Cosita Seria, one of the groups that first introduced this music and culture to a greater audience in the District, see their Day of the Dead event as a way to remember those who have died due to COVID and displacement, particularly people of color and Indigenous folks disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. “We are going to honor all of our loved ones and leaders who have embarked on a journey to the spiritual world because of injustice, capitalism, and racism during this pandemic,” Son Cosita Seria writes. The band invites folks from all communities to borrow available instruments and participate in the percussion-heavy music-making, to bring food offerings to the Día de los Muertos altar, and, most of all, to bring a deep respect. “When people come, especially White people, when they see this sort of manifestation, we hope that what they see is Afro Indigenous manifestation,” says Gustavo Vargas, who has sung and played the traditional son jarocho instruments harana and leona since joining the band in 2016. “[We hope] that what they see is actually a form of cultural resistance—and not just entertainment.” The Día de Los Muertos celebration takes place Oct. 30 at Lamont Plaza, 3258 Mt Pleasant St. NW. Check for updates at facebook.com/SonCositaSeria. Free.