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, April 30, 2020

Oaxaca's got this...

Never let it be said that Oaxaca isn't staying on top of all things timely and virus-related.
But of course,  all oaxaqueños know to stick to mezcal... at least until the beer shortage is over.
Did you know that the average Mexican drinks eighteen gallons of beer each year? And all the beer producers are shut down due to being deemed "nonessential."

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Orange Blossom... Special..

Staying at the house has advantages.  Plenty of hours to fill with cleaning and chores.... the garden has never looked this good this early.  It's the tail end of the dry season and we've had a couple of decent rains, so everything started to wake up. 
This young orange tree has never has so many blossoms and the fragrance.... sublime.  The bees enjoy it even more than I do.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Maestra Maria Jimenez Ojeda's Music stands

The remarkable detailed painting by Maria Jimenez Ojeda from San Martin Tilcajete has bought her worldwide fame and recognition.  These three atriles or music stands were created by Maria and her brothers, Aron and Candido.  The brothers construct the pieces and Maria works her magic with paint.
Her meticulous detail work is just remarkable.  The doves are one of her signature motifs.
Her work was in such demand, she often had nothing for sale and one had to place orders and that's what I did.  The wait was more than worth it.  The gold filigree painting on the vertical part of the stand.... simply wow!
Mariposas and doves....
A masterpiece...
Again, the detail on the vertical is amazing.
Again, I encouraged Maria and her brothers to have fun and make whatever they wished....
They took me at my word.  The toucans on the fish's shoulders(?) are another of her most popular pieces and my favorites... which she knew.
It was sweet of them to incorporate the things they knew I love into the atriles.  I'll post some of the other carver's personal touches mañana....  In the meantime.... Maria Jimenez Ojeda, renown as one of the best painters, not only in Oaxaca, but in all of Mexico.  Gracias, maestra!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Still standing....

I thought I share a few more music stands or atriles.  These are all from almost twenty years ago, a much different time for the woodcarving villages.  Alebrijes, wooden figures, had been a worldwide phenomenon for almost twenty years.  All of that ended in 2006 and the subsequent collapse of the economy.  So I always think that these were created during the golden age of Oaxacan folkart.  This cobra, by master carver Claudio Ojeda of Arrazola, is two meters tall, weighs fifty kilos, and was created over many months of carving and painting.
The atrile, by Melchor Melchor fo SanMartin Tilcajete, and its wonderfully detailed rendition of the dancers from the guelaguetza, is a masterpiece.
The detail work is so fine and accurate.
The column is carved from a single piece of wood.
And three atriles from renown mask maker, Margarito Melchor of San Martin Tilcajete.
You can see his wild vision and sense of humor in these next two.
As are all of them, each music stand is wonderfully unique.
That was the fun of the entire project, just setting each artist free to do whatever they wished.
AND mañana... Maria Jimenez and her family's creations.  Her incredibly fine detailed painting is legendary.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Stand by me....

No, not by me, but music stands by Jesus Sosa Calvo, renown woodcarver from San Martin Tilcajete.
Over a ten year period, Jesus and his talented family made twenty-six atriles or music stands for me as a part of a personal project.  I ended up with enough stands for a small orchestra, over sixty. 
For Jesus and all the artists involved, I just asked them to make whatever they wanted.  Of course, everyone asked initially, "What's a music stand?"  Then things like this came into being....
The Sosas always came up with the most wonderful designs, many based on things uniquely Oaxacan.
Of course, there had to be corn....
Frozen music....
It was a wonderful time in all our lives...... and all still standing.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Surreally real.....

This is an unimaginable shot.  To say the city is quiet would be an understatement.  It is not that people are not out and about, just that traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian, is way down. 
At times, the zocalo is as empty as I've ever seen it.  Tranquil and a bit eerie.
And so too, the Alcala, the pedestrian walkway.
Hard to believe that this is one of the most popular tourist destinations, but note, there are two way up on the right.
And no one in front of Santo Domingo in the morning heat and haze....
People are paying attention and staying at home for the most part and that will surely help.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

More of the new normal....

Today, Saturday, I had to go out to run errands and to get food and pick up laundry.  I remain overly cautious, not liking going out, but I was impressed with how the local police and health officials were out in force.  I even had to go through a little checkpoint to get out and then to get home. 
They had hand sanitizer and passed out these pamphlets, which I think are very good.
Not bad for a little village!  As long as I was out and about, I hit the Etla market for produce and quesillo.  Then, safe in my car,  I wanted to see the jacarandas in San Agustin Etla, my old stomping ground.  Uh, no....
Like many villages, even mine, this is the new normal.
Ah.... back home.  After sanitizing everything (I hope) I'm cool for a while now......

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Presidents CAN wear masks....

See, it's not that hard.  Even revered oaxaqueño, Benito Juarez, national hero and president of Mexico (1861-72) has one on.  I hear he's been doing a lot of important things lately.;-)

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Wish I was there - San Antonino

Bummer!  This is the first time in many years I have not be in San Antonino Castillo Velasco for Palm Sunday.  I wonder how it all went and I hope all the tourists stayed away.  A glimpse of what may have happened.

Friday, April 3, 2020

The new normal

I had to go into the city a couple of days ago and I realized it might be for the last time for quite a while.  I needed to pay bills and to get a few things.  I know I am overly cautious.. hey, it just one of my many neuroses, but I was a bit freaked walking through almost empty streets and staying well away from everyone.   I covered my fingers as I punched in my info to pay for the next three months of phone/internet, which, obviously is even more of a necessity now. I stocked up on necessities, hit my local tiny Weds outdoor market and my chicken vendor and beat a hasty retreat, ready to hunker down for as long as a month.  There was a line at the ATM, so no dinero, but it's not like I'm going to be spending much for the foreseeable future.  The great thing is that almost everything I might need is in walking distance, all local businesses.