That's me, Miguelito, in June 1995 at the Washington Folk Festival (photo by Stan Peters).
It's 11:55am on Monday as I type these words. I'm not going to lie. Summer has been fun so far, but not much to report flamenco-wise. I mean over the past few months I could've easily cranked numerous blog entries about the the same people, places and events you've read about before. Come to think of it, that's pretty much what I do most of the time anyway.:-) But regardless I've been sticking to my primary mission: to keep the local community of what's going on (even if there isn't much going on).
Lately, my longtime photographer friend Stan Peters has been uploading some old flamenco pics to Facebook. "Old" is relative term of course. But I mean old as in from the 90's. That pic of me you see above was taken in 1995 at the Washington Folk Festival. I was 28 at the time and having the time of my life. I was pretty much the only young 20-something guitarist in the DC area at the time.
The other "young flamenco guitarists" at the time like Richard Marlow, Ramin Rad and Behzad Habibzai didn't arrive on the DC flamenco scene until a few years later. In the meantime I was getting calls left and right and doing everything from the low-paying and non-paying street festival gigs to the full-fledged theatre performances. (Full-disclosure: I had a full-time office job too so I could afford to take on low paying and free gigs at the time.)
While I was thrilled with the idea of getting paid for doing what I love, money wasn't my main motivation. It was, and still is, a lot of fun playing guitar for dancers (and singers too when we are lucky to have them). And it's an added bonus to perform for a live audience. The idea of sharing this most beautiful art form with others motivates me again and again each time I'm about go onstage.
[photo on the right by Stan Peters, taken at the DC Feria de Sevilla in 1997]
Fast forward to current day and things are pretty much the same. I'm a little older and presumably a little wiser too. I still get that thrill each time I go onstage (I'm not exaggerating...I really do!) and money, despite the hard economic times, is still not a motivational factor.
But 2011 is approaching and June 1st of that year will mark 20 years that I've been involved in the DC flamenco scene! So while 20 is just an arbitrary number, it's a good time as any to reflect on where I've been and where I'm going and to think about how the DC flamenco scene has evolved.
Yeah I admit that seeing pictures of myself from the 90's has got me in a nostalgic mood. But enough about me. What do I have in store for you, my loyal readers? Well for starters I'm scheduling interviews with some of the older generation of DC flamencos some of whom were active in the scene long before I arrived in 1991! It'll be very interesting to get their take on how things have evolved, how things have changed and how things have remained the same over the past 20 years.
And while I'm at it, I'll start interviewing some of the current younger generation of flamencos and not just the performers and teachers, but also the local students and aficionados. Not all of us are destined or striving to become full-time artists but in a way being an amateur is in a way a more noble approach: when the amateur does flamenco, it's purely for the love of the art and etymologically, amateur does mean lover anyway.
Anywayz, let's get back to the regular blogging format and let me talk about the pics you see here from my gigs the past week or so...