The here and now... and what and why

Complacency is a trap. At least that’s what I was thinking when I up and left the comfort of a Yankee prep school gig, where I taught music, amongst other things, for 28 years. There was also that life long career as a composer, musician and artist.

First, it was a year in St. Thomas, USVI, working as a reporter and shooting photography and then, a year in San Agustin Etla, Oaxaca, Mexico.
Time passed.
More time passed and a year back in the Athens of America followed by a hasty return to Oaxaca where it is all happening.
A couple of years in San Sebastian Etla and now, just down the road in San Pablo Etla. Life is good.

Click on an image to see it larger.
For additional photography please visit my flickr page.
You can find my music on Jango (World & latin - Worldbeat) and at iTunes and most online stores.
¡Soy consciente de todas las tradiciones del Internet!
If you are coming to Oaxaca, please contact me for tours or advice.

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo
The view from Corazon del Pueblo

The hereafter re me

My photo
Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico
Musician, photographer, videographer, reporter, ex-officio teacher, now attempting to be a world traveler

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Quesillo from Etla - It doesn't get any better....

Etla is world famous for its cheeses.  You can find Oaxacan cheese in many places in the States, but there's nothing like getting it incredibly fresh, right from the heart of Etla, the market.
This is Doña Vicki, who I think has some of the best queso and quesillo in the market.  This was soooo fresh and she balled it up like you wouldn't believe.  I joked with her, "Is that the first time you've done that?"  She's probably done it tens of thousands of times.  I've been buying from her for ten years.  Conservatively, if she made twenty a day for a year...  that's 7,300 balls and that is being very conservative. She makes much more than that and in different sizes.  She also has lots of other highly edible things.  That's mine on the lower right.... Mmmmmm.

By the early morning light...

Everything is so lush with all the rain we've had.  This agave and romero, rosemary, combo is quite large, but nowhere near the largest of either.  It's about at least meter and a half, but there is a romero plant that is two meters by two meters by two meter right next to it.  Best I've ever grown.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Plumas in wood

Another music stand from Jesus Sosa Calvo and family.  This one's motif is the danzantes de la pluma, one of my favorites.
Wonderful detail right down the leggings.
The base...
It all gets me psyched for the dancers in Teotitlan del Valle who will be dancing in just three weeks. Yay!
Note: Sorry for the lack of posts.  I've been fighting a stomach thing, but one the mend now... Thanks Obama ;-)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Heavy weather...

The weather here can be different just a kilometer or two away.  Today, there was serious flooding in the southern part of the city and yet here, ten km to the north, almost nothing.  The mountains have a lot to do with the weather patterns and there are big ones just behind me to the east.  They also cut this region off from the city.
Many times I can see the rains way off to the west and they don't make it over this way.  However, when they come from the east, over those mountains, they can be fierce.  And the mountains make for micro-climates, one side of the hill may be lush and the other side, bone dry.

Monday, August 14, 2017

It's that time of year...

It has been a wonderful rainy season thus far this year. Really, one of the best I remember, with perfect temperatures and almost daily rains.  Sure, there have been some torrential downpours, but mostly, they have been nice and short with an occasional rain lasting a few hours.   And the garden loves it.
The zinnias are back and they always attract birds bees and butterflies.
Tough to get the shot if you keep flitting around.
This guy posed like a pro.
C'mon man, hurry up and take the shot.
What a season....

Sunday, August 13, 2017

There's always something....

Even though lots of the tourists have left after the guelaguetza festivites, the city is still hoppin'.  That's the beauty of this place, it lives for itself and its citizens, not for the tourists.  And because art, music, dance, food, culture and tradition are such parts of the social fabric, there is always something happening.  In this case, it was El Dia de los Pueblos Indigenas with stalls set up on the upper section of the Alcala, the pedestrian walkway.  First I heard the music and then I saw these beautiful instruments.
It was good to see our friends from San Maria Tlahuiltoltepec, Honorina Gómez Martínez and Pablo Martínez Martínez, whose incredible embroidery is quite renown. 
I missed them a couple of weeks ago, but this time I managed to get a little bag for my phone.  I'll always be carrying a little piece of them with me.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Garzas - Herons by Jesus Sosa and family

Here's another remarkable music stand by Jesus Sosa Calvo and family of San Martin Tilcajete. 
They created twenty-six atriles or stands over the years and they really perfected the whole style and functional aspects of the pieces.  I really wish they were all here in a museum in Oaxaca... or a museum anywhere.  I also wish I could see all sixty plus on stage being used by an orchestra, but if wishes were fishes.....

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Two more by Maria Jimenez Ojeda

People seemed to enjoy the music stand by Maria Jimenez, so I thought I would share two more by the Jimenez family.  As always, I let the artist decide what the want to do, no limits, no restriction.  All I ever say is, "Have fun!"  Obviously, they did. Again, the brothers are the carvers and carpenters and Maria paints.  First, with fishes and mermaids....
The two toucans on either side are classic Maria pieces.  The detail is incredible as seen in the first shot.
 The other, a mariposa, a butterfly.
She is an incredible painter... Just look at the vertical part covered with some of her signature tiny doves and roses.  What detail!
The butterfly from the front....
And the back...
What an incredible family, Maria, Alberto, Arón, Miguel, and Cándido, all of San Martin Tilcajete.  ¡Viva los Jimenez!

Monday, August 7, 2017

A music stand by Maria Jimenez Ojeda and family

Maria Jimenez Ojeda of San Martin Tilcajete is world renown for her exceptional pieces and I feel very fortunate to have two music stands by Maria and her family.  Her brothers, Alberto, Arón, Miguel, and Cándido, do most of the carving and carpentry and Maria paints... and what incredible painting it is.
Her work is always so delicate and detailed. Look at this gold filigree on the vertical.
Fine detail work covers the entire piece... and it works perfectly holding music
 The doves are constant in her work and always her amazing tiny detail work .  On all her pieces her signature is almost microscopic.
Maria is one of the few women heading a carving family and one of the most preeminent artist in Oaxaca.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

It's an art...

The city is still vibrating from the guelaguetzas, but most of the tourists have gone and so the zocalo is filled with locals.  It's always fun to check out all the action, the musicians, the vendors, there is always something.  A couple of days ago there was a group of portraits artists and caricaturists who were doing a brisk business.  Whaddya think?
They had lots of takers and lots of spectators.
All of this was just opposite all the cafes and there was lots of interest.  So nice to see artists doing their thing right out in the open.
Even off a phone photo.
Ain't it all great?

Monday, July 31, 2017

The guelaguetza in wood

The Jesus Sosa Calvo family of San Martin Tilcajete made 26 music stands as a part of the ten year project. Twenty six!  And each one is unique and exceptional. Here's one that celebrates the dancers of the guelaguetza.  They covered every inch with so many different elements.  It really embodies so much of Oaxaca in a single piece.
Every side of the base is filled.
The top holds music perfectly and look at all the different traditional trajes on the vertical part.... Wow! So much detailed work.

There are  twenty eight (28!) dancers carved into this stand.  The Sosa family and I had so much fun over the years and they produced some of the finest piece in the collection.  Of course, you can always visit him and his wife, Juana and his sister, Francesca Calvo who is also an amazing artist and carver, In San Martin Tilcajete.  They have a shop, Matlacihua Arte, right on the corner just to the left of the church. You can find them on Facebook.