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Mariachi Band Brings Morrissey To Dia De Los Muertos

Mariachi Manchester.
Piero F Giunti
Courtesy of the artist
Mariachi Manchester.

In Los Angeles, one of this year's largest Day of the Dead celebrations was held at Hollywood Forever Cemetery where Rudolph Valentino, Jayne Mansfield and Dee Dee Ramone are buried. It featured plenty of the day's usual customs — folkloric dancers, face-painting and elaborate Huichol yarn paintings and beadwork. But this year's celebration also brought an unexpected addition: A mariachi band that plays covers of songs by The Smiths' lead singer, Morrissey.

El Mariachi Manchester is an L.A. band devoted to Moz. Morrissey made Los Angeles his home, and his music continues to enchant Angelenos — especially Mexican-Americans, according to Gloria Estrada, who plays guitarrón in the band.

"I grew up in Boyle Heights, and when I was in high school Morrissey and [The] Smiths was a huge part of a teenage, emo life," she says. "It's just slit-wrist music and it's perfect."

Singers Moises Baquiero and Alexandro Baquiero say the draw is Morrissey's dark humor, lyrics about doomed relationships and challenging authority, and his Irish immigrant roots: "Catholicism, guilt, second-class citizen — it's almost the same being an Irish descent in England, what it is of being Mexican or Mexican descent living in the United States."

Hear more of the story at the audio link.

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