Inside: The best Day of the Dead Songs, or canciones para Día de Muertos.
With Día de Muertos drawing near, I’ve pulled together a variety of songs to use at home or in the classroom and add this link to my Spanish songs for kids page. These songs may be fun to sing, and the images are a great springboard for discussions about the holiday.
If you’re looking for an entire collections of resources and ideas for Day of the Dead, check out my Día de Muertos activities post as well! I’ve gots lots of links to free resources and ideas for celebrating or teaching traditions.
Day of the Dead Songs for Kids
We’ll start off with some options for a younger crowd! These are a mix of traditional songs, and learners songs designed to teach about the holiday.
(Honestly, I am not sure how much I would show with really young kids. It seems like it would be hard to share without lots of English to explain what we are watching, and that some families might be uncomfortable with the graveyard images. However, you know your class and context! I am sharing these so you know your options, and can plan accordingly!)
Los Esqueletos – Chumbala
I like this one for the very clear singing voice, and the graphics are sweet too. (It works in telling time too, by describing what they do the night of Día de Muertos.) Though it portrays the calaveras in a whimsical way, the graveyard backyard might be scary.
Las Calaveras – Chumbala
Another version of Chumbala, with slight different lyrics.
Día de los Muertos
This song from Rockalingua is an introduction to Día de Muertos — the date, location, activities, etc. The music slogs a little, but still comprehensible and the graphics are useful when working with kids.
El Día de Los Muertos
Another comprehensible Day of the Dead song for introducing what the day is about, the graphics here are also helpful for teaching. I didn’t love the music itself, and feel like it doesn’t coincide with the cultural context of the holiday.
Tumbas Por Aquí Tumbas Por Allá
This one is a littler creepier, and sort’ve falls under the Halloween category too.
Recuérdame – Coco
How could I not include music from Coco? Here are two different version, both of which includes scenes from the movie.
Day of the Dead Songs for Teens or Adults
Here are some options for older students or adults as well!
Calaverita – La Santa Cecilia
This is a Day of the Dead classic: a lively song with a comprehensible chorus. Kara Jacobs has some fantastic resources that go with this song too! Just a heads up that Donald Trump appears briefly in one scene– this was before he was elected president, but it may feel political for some.
Recuérdame – Natalia Lafourcade
I love this re-mix of Recuérdame from Natala Lafourcade. It includes scenes from Coco, mixed in with scenes of Lafourcade singing and Day of the Dead contexts. Really lovely, folksy version that includes lyrics.
Recuérdame – Natalia Lafourcade
A traditional Mexican folk song, this is not exactly a Day of the Dead song, but it fits in with themes of death, and the afterlife. This story is difficult for me to hear or teach (rooted in a story of a jilted woman who drowns her children and then forever after haunts her former lover and weeps for her children), so be aware of that if you use this.
Cumbia de los Muertos – Ozomatli
In a totally different musical genre, here’s a cumbia twist on Día de Muertos with some reggae thrown in. It also includes an English portion. (I’ve included two version below.)