As 2007 Winds Down….
….one tends to turn a little reflective. Looking back. Looking ahead. I think I sometimes tend to look back too much and then seek to live strongly in the present. Looking ahead is not something I obsess about or even think about much—am I a grasshopper?
Sin embargo (I love that word:” notwithstanding.” Used all the time in Spanish and only in written English, it seems. To hear it used in a love song always cracks me up.) this has been a wonderful year for me. I took my 15 year old son to Spain in April for his first time and he LOVED IT. The Mandragora Tango Band had a couple of very nice tours, made some nice videos and recordings, and more than that, we had tons of fun making music together.
The first Flamenco Guitarathon in Minnesota history (impossible to prove, I know) was a big success as it built some nice bridges between all of us. I have enjoyed (immensely) accompanying Rachel Milloy as she develops into an amazing flamenco singer. Accompanying the cante is, to my mind, about as good as it gets anyway.
And so, as 2008 begins—I am excited to finally get a change in our government. Yes, but also I’ve a couple of ideas that are still a little vague that I want to pursue. The first is: to consciously infuse all my music with my spirituality, for lack of a better word. Since trekking off to India while still in my teens and seeking through the culture of yoga/meditation/gurus/aryavedia/Sanskrit for two years and then continuing my practices for a dozen or more years after that—well, it does tend to influence one’s thinking. A dozen years of rock-n-roll on the road tends to wield some influence, too. A quarter century of flamenco involvement in Spain…. I am consciously trying to put it all together in a meaningful way and to express it in my playing.
Secondly, I’ve been searching for a way to make one’s daily practice—arpegios, picados, rasgueos, alza pua and all the rest—become a meditation that yields better results in less time, yes, but that also serves as a source of inspiration, joy and relaxation. This is an on-going process that I’m exploring through my group class in flamenco technique that meets every Sunday and is based upon the teaching of one of my finest mentors: “el Entri” of Cañaroto, Madrid.
Even by attempting to articulate these processes I feel a step closer to actualizing them. So 2008 will have its tours and travels and gigs and ups and downs but, I hope, even more than that. Happy New Year everyone!