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, July 31, 2016

Guelaguetza - The ultimate feel good experience

This is what a soul needs, to be nourished by joy, energy, happiness and pride. It's a potent combination and yesterday's desfile or parade of the delegations of dancers from all over the state was overflowing in all of the above.  It is hard to know where to begin.  Dancing in the streets...
Flor de piña!!!!
 The desfile was once again led by la diosa, Señorita Leticia Reyes Salinas from Jamiltepec
I love seeing all the young people involved.
Imagine participating in something like this.  You'd be hooked for life.  I sure am.
Insuring the traditions continue infinitum.
And did I mention beauty?
Classic traditions!
A photographer's dream.
And smiles everywhere one looked.
Here's looking at you, kid..... I always have a soft spot for the kids in the bands.
More in a bit.  Lots of video, but that takes work to edit.... and I have to get ready for tomorrow's guelaguetza in Etla!

Friday, July 29, 2016

July... the Best

Life is good. 

You can see it in the countryside.  This is the view from Reyes Etla.
It is a good year, at least around here, with plenty of rain and plenty to do.  Ferias, guelaguetzas, celebrations and lots of food and drink.  The feria de queso y quesillo was a great success in Reyes Etla.  I came home with fresh requeson and some wonderful chipotle flavored hard cheese.
Then, the feria de tamale y tejate in the city.  Another gastronomic cornucopia.  There were so many choices, as women came from San Andres Huayapam, the only place for rosita de cacao, the flower of the cacao, a key ingredient. 
So imagine, maybe forty women offering maybe eight different kinds of tamales, all steaming hot ... and lots of people eating them right up.  I took a container and came home with a dozen.  An equal number of women were offering tejate.  Such a Oaxacan delicacy. 
La diosa of the guelaguetza was there, dancing up a storm.
Another day full of smiles
And still more to come with another desfile on Saturday and the guelaguetza in nearby Etla on Monday.  July... the best.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Guelaguetza in Reyes Etla 2016

This is such a great time of year.  Oaxaca at its very best.  There is so much pride, happiness and joy as all of Mexico celebrates the uniqueness of this place.  And the dances, the outfits, the whole guelaguetza vibe, it all is simply the best.  Flor de piña!!!
Last week's post showed you the magnificent setting.  This week, the place was transformed, as lots of folks set up great places to eat and of course, the feria de queso y quesillo is happening, too.  But yesterday, it was all about the dance.
A little rain, a little sun and lots of people... but only four gringos, spixl and I, being two of them.  Perfect!
You can see how glorious it was.
This setting is just perfect and this year, the setup and logistics were the best yet.
Feel the joy!
People feel such pride, it is a really unique experience, because it is contagious.
More on the feria de queso in a bit.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Singin' (and dancin') in the rain.

The first desfile or parade of delegations of dancers from all the regions in the state began in heavy rains..... but that sure did not stop the action, excitement and feelings of pride and joy.  Here's one of the subalternos from Teotitlan del Valle properly dressed for the occasion.
There was great light as they began to assemble, but look at those dark skies.
 Brother and sister posing for the camera while the light was good.
And then..... it rained..... pretty hard and for quite awhile.  Nothing like dancing with a wet turkey to make ones day.
The danzantes from Teotitlan del Valle were there and looked great.  And look who was dancing with them, the dance master for the group and father of this year's Monctezuma, Javier Gutierrez Hernandez.  He has done some really amazing choreography for the group.... and he can dance!
And so can his son, Sergio, better known as Monctezuma.
By this point I was like that turkey, soaked, so I headed back to the car like a wimp.  Ah well, there is always next week when it all happens again.  I'll hope for better weather.... along with everyone else.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Ready for the Guelaguetza? You bet!

I can barely believe it, but it sure looks like the hundreds of workers have finished these two major projects just in time for the guelaguetza.  First, the wings are back on the auditorium where the official performances will take place.  This roof has had a long and tortured history and the sides blew off or fell a couple of times, but hey... it's ready!
Also, the stairs leading up to the auditorium look great.  Just a week ago, they were non-existant, just a steep climb over dirt. 
So kudos to the workers.  Now, let's see if they finish the bridge walkover, which they started less that two weeks ago.
I dunno about that one.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Feasts and Goddesses

Oaxaca is the place to be right now.  There is so much to see and do and lots of people are doing just that.  Wow, what a day.  First, the Festiva de los Moles. Oaxaca is so famous for its moles.  There are many different kinds and eahc one is different depending on who made it or where it is from.  So imagine sitting down to all the mole you could ever wish to sample and that's just we did.
There was plenty for everybody.... and sooo tasty.
 And of course, mezcal.
My plate runneth over....  no, not really my plate.  My nails were much different ;-)
 Back for seconds?
After leaving the festiva, we went to the competition to choose this year's Diosa of the official guelaguetza.  Each oaxaqueña, in full traje or outfit, spoke about her region and its particular traditions.... and these ladies can truly declaim with the best of them.  I was lucky to get a nice shot of this year's winner, Señorita Leticia Reyes Salinas from Jamiltepec before she was chosen.  She will lead many of the upcoming activities.
 She had stiff competition.

 All disosas.
And finally, on the way back to the car, I ran into this beautiful tableau at Carmen Alto, getting ready to process through the streets.
Tomorrow, the desfile or parade of delegations of dancers from all the regions, from all over the state.  Always the best!!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Here we go.... It's Guelaguetza time!

It is time to eat and dance... and dance and eat.  The big question is will it look like this? ... you know, normally crowded and wonderfully crazy.
I am going to remain positive and hope that everything goes smoothly.  There is potential for problems as the ongoing conflicts continue, but maybe saner minds will prevail and allow these two important weeks to go smoothly.
Mañana, the feria des moles in the botanical garden, then Saturday, the first desfile with our friends from Teotitlan del Valle, then the feria de hongos in Cuajimoloyas on Sunday, then the feria de queso and the guelaguetza in Reyes Etla.... This ain't no sprint, it's a marathon.... starting with this....
 I am so ready.