Dia de Muerto, TAM-style

By weeklyvolcano on November 6, 2006

A former classmate of mine from the University of Washington-Tacoma, who is involved in the Latin Student Organization, encouraged me to stay in the Tacoma Art Museum’s library space with my daughter yesterday, because a storyteller was coming.  Cool, I thought.  Then said storyteller, Rose Cano, was announced to be starting later than planned.  I still thought, cool, I’ll sit with my kid and read Eric Carle books.  We had just eaten a very tasty Untitled Cafe meal â€" the best tomato soup, ever, with crusty warm bread and stars of grilled cheese sandwich, grapes, and carrots for kidlette, along with an amazing feta and grilled chicken (with cous cous!) salad for me. We had also decorated sugar skulls, and had seen the emotionally moving display of altars, and enjoyed drums, "Trimpin’s Conlan in Purple," and Eric Carle’s amazing art.

Tamdeadone_1 Tamdeadthree Even still, the TAM Dia de Muertos event took on wings and flew as Rose Cano enchanted my daughter and me.  She arrested us, me sitting cross-legged against a table, my kid on a pillow, as she entered and set up.  She entranced us as she played a song on her reed-like flute.  She captivated us as she began her story about a misunderstood woman washing her hair in the river.  As effortless as the flow of the river, Cano moved between Spanish and English, reaching and riveting the entirety of the audience. Fluidly, Cano displayed her familiarity with instruments as diverse as goat’s hooves, seeds, spoons, and flutes as she wove these instruments adroitly into her storytelling.  As she played a box, she taught, as she moved into her next story, she left musical instruments behind for animalia and voices.  Boys in the crowd loved the slingshot end to the Macaw in both languages; girls seemed riveted by it all though my own daughter seemed to like the story of the skunk best.  By this point, she and I were snuggling, with me up against the pillow-cushioned wall, and her burrowing up against me to where her giggles reverberated against my ribs.

Tamdeadtwo It was a beautiful moment of education, community, family, diversity, and entertainment.  It was the kind of moment I hope will be replicated many more times, because the whole thing â€" the languages, the colors, the dance, the crowd, the old, the young, the in-between, the teens â€" was just gorgeous.

Viva la Dia! â€" Jessica Corey-Butler