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

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Carnaval in Teotitlan del Valle

Yesterday was the first of five days celebrating carnival and it was also the first carnival for me in Teotitlan del Valle.  Teo is unique in so many ways and this was another one.  Normally, carnival is before Lent, but here they choose to do it after Easter.  Maybe it is because this village is always so serious, with "respect" being one of the pillars of the community.  Semana Santa was serious and now it is time to let go.... as much as a serious respectful Zapotec can let go.
Each day, a different section of the village acts as host and Day One went to Section One.  We arrived to find the band playing and people just finishing comida.  Luckily, we were welcomed in and offered some delicious beef in an incredibly rich consomme.   It felt wonderful to be so accepted and after so many times in the village, to know some of the protocol.  We felt relaxed and happy to have stumbled onto such a fine event.

We were dragged from our meals out into the street to dance the fandango.  Another first for me and I am sure I provided comedic relief.  It is one long dance and no one else was smiling except spixl and me.  They were dancing.  It was serious.

Then the chihuahuas arrived, two young men who act as controls and entertainment for the week.  Their great uncle had provided the same function many years ago, but after he quit. there were no chihuahuas for thirty years until last year when these two restored the tradition much to the villages delight.
They danced and leapt around.
They were joined by this very sweet diabla, who happens to be a friend, Jose.  Not too hot!
Then the viejos and their mujeres arrived.    They represent the past and are experts on the many traditions of the pueblo.  They also know plenty of jokes.  The mujeres, in this case, are men.
Notice how the lower lips move due to the wire going into his mouth.  It looked fantastic, like a big muppet.
There was much formal back and forth, as usual, but the whole thing had a comedic effect as they grunted and laughed hysterically.
People will cracking up and smiling everywhere.  The danza de los viejitos
They danced an jarabe and then is was a short march to the plaza in front of the municipal center, where there were lots of people waiting for more dances, formal presentations and exchanges.

And that was just Day One.  More to come.

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