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

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Guelaguetza in Reyes Etla

It is such a busy time in Oaxaca with so much to do, but something I never miss is the guelaguetza in nearby Reyes Etla with its amazing setting and round dance platform.
It is always such a fun and intimate experience.  People are so happy and friendly.... and the backdrop of the church featured in Nacho Libre....
These dancers outdid themselves today, hours of dancing in the hot sun.
More to come, but it is hard to keep up with all the action.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Too cool for school...

While all the dancers were assembling for the desfile, I spotted this wonderful
quinceañera group.  The girls are always so beautifully dressed on this, one of their most important days, but in this case the boys look just amazing, too.  Too cool....

Saturday, July 15, 2017

And then it rained...

It was sprinkling when I left the house, but by the time I made it into the city, not a drop was falling. The first desfile, the parade of delegations of dancers from the the various regions in town for Monday's official guelaguetza, was due to start in ninety minutes.   As always, I was early... gringo tendencies.  The streets were dry.  The musicians were getting ready.
The dancers were just starting to arrive.
It was a perfect time for close ups.
Friends from Tlacolula.
Classic looks...
So many wonderful outfits and dancers.
And then... the rains started, quite a bit before the scheduled beginning of the procession.
Like that would stop people... ja!
Dancing in the rain...... just sublime.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

All about the dance...

It is the time of year when Oaxaca dances... I mean, everywhere.  It is the beginning of the guelaguetza, the huge annual dance festival.  And tt is wild living somewhere where dance is such a part of everyday life.  For the next two weeks, hundreds of thousands of Oaxacans and visitors will watch the state strut its stuff.  Oaxaca is where many Mexican come to drink in the traditions and reconnect with their roots.
And everyone dances... this is today, at a school just down the road from me.  I had to laugh... I taught in a Yankee prep school and getting boys to dance... fergetabouit..... also, even if we could have gotten the boys to dance... I don't think the machetes would've flown.
These kids were great, very tight, and the sounds of the machetes, perfectly in sync, was wonderful.
Ahhhh... school days...
Lots of dance in the next few days... and food....

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Is old is new again? - Teotitlan del Valle

For the convite, the procession of unmarried women and girls in Teotitlan del Valle Friday, a group of young women wore a different style of traditional wear.

There was some discussion as to whether or not this was the style from an earlier time or something new.
We saw it last year in one of the guelaguetza  declamation contests on a woman representing the village.
I have not heard the definitive word, but I'm sure I will.
Of course, there were many in the current traditional traje, like our favorite, Beatrice Ruiz, featured on this blog many times.
More in a bit.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Plants vs Zombies in Teotitlan del Valle!!!!

So we're just hanging out watching the dancers when I notice this guy.  Who knows what lurks out there?
He swore he was not a zombie.... or a plant.
Fortunately. we were all safe.....
Just your average Zapotec super hero.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

More plumas - Teotitlan del Valle

Trying to capture any kind of dance in photos or video is difficult.  Do you try to take in the whole or concentrate on something like the feet as they execute the choreography?  Sometimes it all goes by in a blur.
And it is serious physical work, fighting the wind and dancing.  You can see the strain on Eligio Ruiz Contreras's face.
Catching Malinche, Quetzali del Rayo Santiago Ruiz, just as she twirls...
And then there's her counterpoint, her Spanish version, Doña Marina, Elizabet Hernandez Gutierrez.
One has to learn to anticipate, to shoot just a moment before they leap or turn..... and sometimes, you just have to get lucky..... or they stand still for a second.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Plumas in Teotitlan del Valle

This week is the beginning of year two for this group of dancers with one more to go and they are in fine form.
So wonderful to be there and marvel at this wonderful spectacle.
Much more to come....

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

El otro lado - The other side

This is the view looking in the opposite direction from my morning vista, due west.
I love this spot under these trees whose fragrant leaves relieve stress when rubbed on the forehead and around the eyes. 
 Such a glorious time of year

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Morning vista

The view from my bedroom...
Just amazing to see the changes in the countryside as the rains transform it from browns to greens.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

What a difference a day makes....

Well, actually three years and a little rain... make that lots of rain.... and work.
This is what it looked like three years ago after cleaning up what was a bit of a bomb zone.
The plants have grown so much.
I'm learning more and more about what it is to have a garden here, where it is normal to go five or six months without a drop of rain. 
So there are plants for the dry season which are finally getting established.  And there are those which thrive in the rainy season like the cedron or lemon verbena and the grenadas or pomegranates, which lose all their leaves and look dead.  Now they are covered with leaves, the cedron exuding such an amazing fragrance.
Lots of flowers to come which will draw even more butterflies and hummingbirds.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

On this very stage....

On this very stage, next month, the dancers of the guelaguetza in Reyes Etla will, once again, present the regional dances for which Oaxaca is so famous. 
This round platform surrounded by mountains and vast vistas is one of the best places to see this annual celebration.
And you may recognize the church found there.  It was in Nacho Libre.
The views south to Atzompa are always lush, but even more so now with all the recent rains.
A detail from the above....   A man, a scythe, a horse and a sea of green.