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Alt.Latino's Sonic Altar: Remembering Those Who've Left Us44:25

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Our Día de los Muertos altar in the Alt.Latino World Headquarters celebrates Prince, David Bowie and many more of the musicians and loved ones we lost this year. (NPR)closemore
Our Día de los Muertos altar in the Alt.Latino World Headquarters celebrates Prince, David Bowie and many more of the musicians and loved ones we lost this year. (NPR)

2016 has been particularly hard on music fans of all stripes.

Of course, we saw the loss of marquee names like Prince and David Bowie this year. But just about each and every slice of the music world has lost a significant artist — and, in some cases, way too soon. There's Juan Gabriel in Latin music, Merle Haggard in country, Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire in R&B, Bobby Hutcherson in jazz.

The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions (Courtesy of the artist)
The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions (Courtesy of the artist)

So in our annual sonic altar commemorating Día de los Muertos, we honor some of those musicians and the gifts they've left us in their recorded legacies. And, as usual, we remember our own friends and family members in the form of dedications that some listeners were generous enough to share with us. (This year we also have an actual altar set up in Alt.Latino World Headquarters to accompany the sonic version.)

The Nahuatl people of present-day Mexico believed in a concept of duality: "I am alive. I am dead. In both cases, I am." That's the guiding principle of Día de los Muertos, and it's also what inspires Alt.Latino to honor those that have made their transitions toward the light and eternity.

Copyright NPR 2016.

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