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Category: Tradition

Alabados – Voices of Spirit

Alabados – Voices of Spirit

Today, on this highest of holy days to Catholics, I recall the deeply resonant sounds of the ancient spiritual hymns known as alabados. Recognizing the value and importance of recording these spiritual praises and other musical and religious traditions, folklorist and linguist Dr. Juan B. Rael returned home in the summer of 1940 and recorded the voices of fifteen men and four women from villages in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, including these deeply spiritual hymns. Listening to the alabados in moradas,…

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The Moon Rises Over Hernandez Again and Again

The Moon Rises Over Hernandez Again and Again

One of the most famous and most sought after photographs in American fine-art photography is called “Moonrise, Hernandez, NM” shot by Ansel Adams in 1941. I first encountered this photograph as capital “A” art in my university art history course. I was taught to appreciate this photo from an objective perspective, to memorize all manners of facts about its medium and technique. It is silver gelatin print that stands the testament of time for many reasons, but particularly in terms…

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Yearbooks- Reflections of a Community’s Youth

Yearbooks- Reflections of a Community’s Youth

There is something deeply intimate about yearbooks. Filled with professions of eternal love and friendship, inside jokes and the youthful signatures of our classmates, each copy is an intense snapshot of a very particular time and and a very particular place. But, what each year’s edition has in common, beneath the personalized messages from ones friends and classmates, is a record of community.

‘Dando Los Dias’ – Greeting the New Year with Poetry and Song

‘Dando Los Dias’ – Greeting the New Year with Poetry and Song

In the spirt of a history that forms an arc from ancient troubadours to modern day slam poets, in my own natal villages of Amalia, Costilla, Cerro and Questa, one of the most beautiful traditions is that of ‘Dando Los Dias,’ which I translate to ‘gifting the blessing upon the day — the day of days.’ In this tradition, musicians and poets travel from home to hom serenading families. They begin striking up the music at the thresholds of each…

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LOS ABUELOS – Keepers of Culture

LOS ABUELOS – Keepers of Culture

Abuelo and abuela are words that reflects the gift of our elders, our grandfathers and grandmothers. The word comes from the Latin, “avus,” grandfather, which comes from the Hebrew “abba,” which meant father and also God, which also evolved into or from the Arabic, “abu” little father (linguists have not fully agreed). One of my dear friends who grew up speaking Arabic described this word “abu” to me, as those individuals who are “the keepers of culture.” It is this…

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