Samantha Zerpa and Jason Vera y Aragón dancing Sevillanas. January 28, 2007 12:32am
It's 10:43am on Wednesday as I type these words. Last night I had the pleasure of playing alongside percussionist Gonzalo Grau at Las Tapas as I accompanied dancers Edwin Aparicio and Anna Menendez. It had been a while since Edwin last performed here, but it was a very pleasant surprise for me to have him back.
Working with these three awesome artists was the good part about last night. The not-so-good part was that I got there late, literally ten minutes past when the show was supposed to start, so in the interest of saving time I plugged my microphone directly into my monitor. I figured I saved about five minutes by not plugging in my mixer and reverb box. Needless to say, in this mad mad rush to get things started, I wasn't as focused as I wanted to be for these high-calibre flamenco performers.
But the show has to go on. And while I experienced a few momentary musical lapses in my distracted state of mind, I have to thank Gonzalo for his fabulous cajón accompaniment for keeping me on the beat. Hehe. There were moments when I was so mesmerized by the range of different sounds and funky rhythmic variations he came up with that I found myself paying more attention to him than the dancers. Without a doubt, Gonzalo brought the musicality of last night's show to a whole other level!
Anywayz, I'm finally getting around to blogging about last Saturday night's Sala Rociera which took place in my house, the Pink Flamenco. Before arriving at the party, I was hanging out at Tapeo after our last set for the evening, and my friend Chris jokingly asked me, "Hey Miguelito, you do realize there's a party going on at your house?"
I guess it seemed ironic to Chris that the party host seemed a little too relaxed to be chilling out elsewhere while the party already in full-swing taking place miles and miles away. I wouldn't call myself the host though. The truth is that I'm just one member of the Sala Rociera committee and my job is primarily to make sure the venue, in this case my house, is available and ready. Plus I provide the sound system for the Ipod and for the live music and I get the word out through my website and mailing list. Fellow committee members Aleksey Kulikov (filling-in at the last minute for Edwin Aparicio), Jen, Jason Vera y Aragón, Soheila and a few others were already there from the beginning of the party taking care of all the little but important details to make sure everyone enjoyed themselves. That's the beauty of a committee: as long as everyone does their part, we can all relax knowing the other parts are well taken care of.
Here are a few pics just to give you an idea of how the party went...
VCU flamenco concert flyer with photo by Niko Alexandrou. January 28, 2007 2:23pm
It's almost 2:00pm on Monday as I type these words. Got a lot of catching up to do on my blog, but I think I'll take the Tarantino approach and go back in reverse chronological order starting with yesterday's flamenco performance at Virginia Commonwealth University.
I'm an experienced performer so I can usually pull myself together and put on a good show no matter what, but I was especially impressed with myself this time considering I only had four hours of sleep:
On Saturday night the Sala Rociera flamenco party went on, as expected, until sometime after 3:00am. Tons of fun of course, but it was important that I got at least of few hours of quality sleep. Of course, I ended up going to bed around 4:00am. My alarm clock went off at 8:30am, but couldn't get myself out of bed right then so I pressed snooze a few times and finally got up at 9:00am, did a few personal errands and tidied up the studio (there was an Argentine tango dance class scheduled here at 2:00pm!). And then at 11:30am, I met up with dancer Ginette to drive down to Virginia Commonwealth University (in Richmond), a two-hour trip, in time for a sound-check and run-through of the concert program.
Of course, despite our well-laid plans, we all arrived a bit later than expected, so our sound-check and run-through time was cut short. But then again, I frequently perform with singer Gerard Moreno and dancers Ginette, Mariya and [removed for privacy] all the time. So we only had to refresh our minds with a few tricky spots between the music and choreography, acclimate ourselves to the performance space and calibrate the sound...
Hidden compartment in my guitar case. January 23, 2007 3:10am
Yeah, it really is 3-something in the morning on Tuesday as I type these words. While I do have some pics from last night at Citron. I thought I'd just do something different for a change thanks to a little inspiration from my friend Carol Basilio's flamenco blog. Her latest entry is titled Bag It! where she describes the contest of her dance bag.
So for the benefit of my fellow guitarists and for those non-guitarists out there who are simply just curious, here's what I have in my guitar case...
Dancers Ginette Perea, Shahram Tehranian and Mariya working on a bulería choreography. January 21, 2007 3:19pm
It's 11:45am on Monday as I type these words. Yesterday, I had the dancers over at the Pink Flamenco, my house, for a few hours to rehearse in preparation for a concert on Sunday January 28, 2007 as part of Virginia Commonwealth University's guitar concert series. This has special significance for me: ten years ago I performed in this series playing alongside flamenco guitarist Paco de Málaga for the Ana Martinez flamenco dance company and now I'm doing a concert on my own, yay!
Anywayz, during our rehearsal, the snow was coming down pretty hard by DC standards---something like three inches. (I can just hear my guitarist friend Behzad, who used to live in Maine, saying, "Three inches? Pffft! That's nothing!") My dancers braved the icy roads coming up here and they had a long slow drive going back home awaiting them afterwards, but of course, as we drifted into our flamenco frame of mind, we soon forgot about all that.
Didn't have much opportunity to take more pics since I was busy playing guitar, so all I have for you are a few random candid shots...
Mariya in tientos. January 15, 2007 8:13pm (photo by Keith)
It's 8:49pm on Wednesday as I type these words. Last night's show at Las Tapas was cancelled which was sort of expected on account of the three day weekend. But the flamenco gods are looking out for me cuz as luck would have it, I had a private guitar lesson scheduled that day and I made some money anyway. So between teaching a few compases of toque and having my friend treat me to some Italian at nearby Maggiano's after the lesson, it turned out to be a very satisfying afternoon.
I slept in late again today (Wednesday) to rest up, boost my immune system and avoid the bitter cold. I felt a bit of a cough coming on--of course, I've been especially careful lately but a lot of my friends seem to be sick too so I may have caught the virus unintentionally. I spent most of the afternoon working on search engine optimization stuff, published a contest promoting Lisner's Flamenco Festival (see main page), chatted online with friends and got an invite to a last-minute get-together which just got cancelled. It's OK. Just one of those nights when I'd rather stay at home anyway. I'll make up for it this weekend though.
So this past Monday the weather was unbelievably warm: in the 70's! Turnout was decent at Citron although there weren't as many of my friends in attendance as I would have expected on such a perfect evening to go out. Saw a couple of friends I hadn't seen in a while: Cynthia, Ernesto, Eric, Esin and Ayhan.
Here are a few pics...