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

Thursday, October 19, 2017

More muerteada arte - Pueblo Nuevo

This mural is from nearby Pueblo Nuevo is one of my favorites, but it is from last year.  I've searched for this year's but no luck... yet.  However, this can stay up forever, that'd be fine with me.
Each figure could stand alone, like this one, music, dance and mezcal.
Bells, masks and whips, very typical.
A little context..
And it just doesn't get any better than this.
¡Via Pueblo Nuevo!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Muerteada art... Barrio San Jose

This corner in San Agustin Etla always has a great mural announcing the upcoming muerteada which starts on Nov. 1st and ends on the 2nd.  I'm not sure why it was partially covered, but a guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do to get the shot... sorta.  So I lifted the canvas... and this shot has it all, the bells and mirrors, the masks and costumes and the result of dancing for hours and a little mezcal.
And tubas!  Lots of tubas!
It will be fantastic... as always
I'll post the mural later from arch rival, San Agustin, which is right up the hill.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Muerteada arte...

Just gorgeous...
¡Viva Oaxaca... much more coming.....

Monday, October 16, 2017

Muerteada - It's a thing... San Pablo Etla...

Muerteadas seem to be getting more popular as the years go by or maybe I just never noticed how many there are in the barrios and villages near me.  I drove around today to see the new murals enticing people to come and celebrate.  So what's a muerteada?  Kinda hard to describe... more or less it's people dressing up and dancing to insanely infectious music, going from house to house, for many hours, many times starting in early evening and ending the next morning.  There might be mezcal and beer involved... it's a nice little bit of insanity.  Each village has a different look, but the bands are always killer!  I always end up at the San Augustin/San Jose melee.... but more about that later.

I walked around the corner to shoot this mural. ¡Viva San Pablo Etla Seccion 3!  I saw it a week ago when a bunch of young guys were out starting it.  This is what it looked like then.
And today..
And this...
 What a great addition....
I went to find murals  and found them in six different villages..... more to come..

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Quinceañeras - Always special

There are quinceañeras every day, mainly because girls turn fifteen every day of the year, and it is always such a treat to see them dressed in all their finery.
It's a pretty regular thing to see them out on the streets.  Many times they have young men as escorts. but not today.  I think these were the photo shoots before the big event.  Her mother asked me to wait a week until today to post this one.  I love the younger girl's sash.  So nice to see a traditional element on both dresses.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Your table(cloth) is waiting...

And it better be big and round. This had, maybe, a four meter diameter.
On the reverse of the display, one in red.
These from an exhibition, La Piel de Mi Raza, in San Bartolo Coyotepec at the Museo Estatal de Arte Popular Oaxaca.
The hupiles from the Mazatec and Chinantec peoples are amazing.
Months of work go into each of these and the detail is remarkable.
Be sure to check out Casa Colibri's post which is more extensive and informative. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Market Day - Etla

Every day of the week one can go to a different village market on the outskirts of the city.  I suppose Tlacolula's Sunday market is the most famous and it is certainly worth a visit, but each market is very different in layout, feel and energy.  So all are worth a visit.  How does this compare to yours?
Of course, they are open for business every day, but there is always one special day and for Etla, it is Wednesday.  I feel lucky to be so close and go practically every week.  Can you see and name the items in this photos that are so uniquely Oaxacan?  Answers below
I see some the same people every week.
And in each village there is a different way to carry one's purchases.  In Tlacolula it is baskets.  In Etla, it is a bag made from a costal or bigger bag.  Of course, I have mine.
There is a livestock market nearby, so this is a pretty normal sight.
I like the bulls on the back window and that, for once, the lucky goat has plenty of room and looks comfortable.  ¡Viva Etla!

Answers:  misperos, the fruit, ocate, the wood for starting fires, cal for comals and corn and the green pods are huajes for snacks or making mole.

Monday, October 9, 2017

The voice of Teotitlan del Valle

One of the best things about this place is one has the chance to hear lots of different indigenous languages.  If you want to hear some good typical music and lots of Zapotec, here is Tsae Xigiae, La Voz de Teotitlan.  Give it a listen.

When I'm in Teotitlan, lots of what I hear is Zapotec and I understand... nada.  And when I'm at friend's houses, it's like when your parents didn't want you to know what they were saying and spoke in some language they knew you didn't understand.  I always joke that I understand Zapotec now, except there are seven hundred different dialects of Zapotec.  You can go to Santa Ana del Valle, just a few kms away, and it is different.  The station is in Spanish and Zapotec - enjoy!
h/t Mina Ruiz Gonzalez

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Somewhere in Mezcal country

This is somewhere between San Dionisio Ocotepec, Chichicapan and Santa Catarina Minas on the roads that connect Mitla and Ocotlan, which, incidentally, is one of the best day drives around.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Drone Envy....

I want one!
The folks from Musa Oaxaqueña were in Teotitlan del Valle last week with a nice drone setup.  The video is not up yet, but I am interested in seeing how it came out.
Getting the right angle shooting the dancers is always a challenge and I am curious how the overhead worked.  However, this setup looked pretty sophisticated and the drone behaved perfectly with his gentleman at the controls.  One downside..... It was pretty noisy
Somehow, I think this is the real Musa Oaxaqueña (Oaxacan muse).

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Traditions - Tamales amarillos

Part of the celebration from last week's recognition of la Fiesta de La Virgen del Rosario was, as always, food, wonderful food and all of it following traditional dictates.  We are lucky to eat tamales amarillos made by one of the best cooks I know, Emilia Gonzales, of Lila Downs video fame.
She made four hundred of these delectable treats that go down so easily that is possible to eat more than ten at a sitting.  The masa is made from corn from their fields.  The chickens come from the yard.  And the hierba santa, one of the key ingredients comes from the garden. The taste... sublime.
She even gave us a bagful to take home. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Wait until next time....

One of the dancers, Francisco Lopez Ruiz, was on the sidelines, looking on, as his fellow dancers performed last week in Teotitlan del Valle.  You can see from the look on his face how much he wanted to be out there.  However, he was sitting out because of an injury to his ankle.
You can also see his pride, frustration and determination to get out there as soon as possible. 
The men and I joked about how serious he looked and he broke into a big smile, "See you in December."

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Plumas in Teotitlan del Valle.....

Another wonderful day in Teotitlan del Valle as the danzantes performed once again, this time in celebration of the Fiesta de La Virgen del Rosario.  This is the penultimate time they will dance this year with one more in December for La Virgen de Guadelupe.  Then they have only one more year left in their commitments.
This time the venue was in front of the municipal building due to earthquake damage to the church. So a slightly different view, but still a good one, especially with friends like these.
It was an opportunity to get some classic portraits.  This one of Manuel Ruiz.
Ruben Ruiz Bautista
It is so interesting and fun to watch each dancer and the group as a whole, develop and evolve.
Obviously, it is easiest to see in the two girls who portray La Malinche and Doña Marina, Quetzali del Rayo Santiago Ruiz and Elizabeth Hernandez Gutierrez. respectively.
We will be there for their next performance in December.  How could we miss it?
How about you?
Be sure to check out Shannon's post over at Casa Colibri.