Mateo's Blog

Jocotenango

I'm renting an apartment in Jocotenango, about 45 minutes walk (that's right: walk!) from Antigua. My son, Aaron, and his girlfriend, Jaki, live there, too. Everyday, I sit by the front windows, gazing at the volcanoes and practicing guitar for a few hours. Two of the most magnificent little birds---golden-green with black wings---sit right outside and listen as they perch on a fruit tree. If I'm late starting my practice, they fly up to the window---questioningly(?). They have become dear little friends.
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Chill the Hell Out!

I am SO reminded right now---this very minute---of the importance of stepping back a bit, chilling out, big smile, light heart, have a huge laugh. NOTHING is that damn important. Pass it on. If I see you tomorrow on the streets of Antigua: we'll know. We'll share a moment.
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Final Week in Minneapolis: fun shows!

1. Tonight, Tuesday, August 26th, I'm playing solo flamenco at the Riverview Wine Bar (42 Ave S and 38 St, Mpls) from 7 30pm. 2. Playing jazz, with John devine (sax) at the Wine Pavilion, MN State Fair: Wednesday, Aug 27th from 6 30 till 9 30p. 3. Solo flamenco guitar at Rincon 38 Tapas (38 and Grand Ave, Mpls)on Thursday, Aug 28th, from 6 30 till 9 30p. 4. Solo guitar at Ingredients in White Bear Lake, MN, Friday, Aug 29 from 6 30 till 9 30p. 5. Cafe Latte, in St Paul, on Grand and Victoria, hosts my solo guitar on Saturday, Aug 30th from 7 till 10p. 6. A final show with Rogue Tango on Sunday, Aug 31, at the Loring Pasta Bar (327 14 Ave SE, Mpls), 6 till 10p. Then: its back to Antigua Guatemala and Restaurant Angeline. Hasta cuando? No se....
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Back in the US of A!

I am in Minneapolis. I've been here most of August; heading back to Antigua Guatemala---and Angeline---in a week. Its been wonderful to play with Rogue Tango. I've done a lot of gigs, a lot of teaching, a lot of research, planning, and meetings. The restaurant has climbed to #2 on TripAdvisor and this generates business. Six months into the project, it is time to reflect back, see the positives as well as the negatives, re-examine goals and priorities, perhaps make some adjustments. Its been quite a ride! Where do we go from here? My friend, Timo Lozano, passed away a few days ago. He was an incredible flamenco dancer with flawless rhythm and great groove, played great cajon, too. Very sad. Another close friend, Ken Turner, passed earlier this summer, and I just came to know of it. Very sad, indeed. My eight year relationship with Rachel "la Mala" Milloy ended right after our show in March. This has been a tough loss for me, too. But life is so sweet, so precious. We must continue moving forward. Lots of great friends here. Lots of music; it is bittersweet being in Minneapolis at summer's end.
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Things to Love about Antigua Guatemala

As 1/3 owner of a new restaurant: Angeline, segunda calle poniente #3, Antigua Guatemala---one can get lost in the day-to-day struggle to build a successful business. I often walk for an hour in the early morning. It's a great time to think, reflect, get priorities straight. Sometimes I don't leave the premises of Angeline for the rest of the day. So the walk is super important to me. I was thinking about the many things I love about this city, this country, this business. 1. Antigua Guatemala is a beautiful place to live. The climate is perfect, its a healthy lifestyle, great fresh, local produce. An ancient and fascinating culture that one is surrounded by on a daily basis. 2. Everyday brings new and unexpected adventures! It is never boring or staid. 3. I am learning the restaurant business--it is an addiction. I am learning how (and how not!) to run a restaurant. 4. Not to be cheezy: it is an opportunity to do some positive good by employing local folks, paying a decent wage, inputting the local economy. I'm not a big supporter of NGOs---I like this much better. 5. I'm learning how to manage people, to be tough when I need to be, to be decisive and strong and fair. 6. I love the opportunity to speak Spanish all-day, everyday. I love living in a Spanish speaking country. 7. As the music director at Angeline, I play guitar (flamenco, tango, classical, jazz) for many hours each day. This is really what my life is about. 8. I have the opportunity to share all this with my youngest child, Aaron. He is living here, with his girl friend, Jaki. They are studying Spanish 4 hours a day, working at Angeline, playing soccer, dancing, living in a foreign country. It's an amazing experience for them (he's 21, she's 19) and I'm happy to be able to help them.
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Angeline Update from Antigua, Guatemala

http://www.facebook.com/angelineantiguaWe are open! We survived all the little hassles and beaurocratic snarls that delay opening on time, and....we're almost there! Doors are open although there is still some paperwork not finalized. We're looking at a Grand Opening in late June, I think the 27th. This place is exquisite! It is comfortable---we don't like to leave. Its a place to hang out, have a drink, have a tapa (gratis with first drink), have a craft cocktail, eat a gourmet dinner, listen to live music... you get the idea. After playing music in nightclubs and bars for so many years, I knew just the kind of place I wanted to be a part of! I hosted my first open jam session last Thursday. I need to meet the local musicians (I've a mind to create a tango band, jazz combo, flamenco group...) and this was a good start. Friday, we had our first flamenco show, featuring a dancer and a singer from Guatemala City. We had a nice crowd, enthusiastic and very diverse. Angeline is notable for 4 things: the food. Contemporary fusion fine dining with specials everyday. Tasting menus with wine parings are soon to be. We have a wonderful Guatemalan chef, Gustavo, who will team with Jes Werkmeister (from the Harriet Brasserie in Minneapolis, MN) who arrives on June 14th. Delicious tapas, too. Secondly: the wine program. My partner, Alberto Blanco, really knows wine and has his sommolier certification. By the glass or the bottle, we have wines to please the connaisseur (French, Spanish) and very affordable South American offerings, as well. It is difficult to find really good wines in Antigua---here they are! Thirdly: craft cocktails and mixology. Virtually unknown here until now, partner Chi Ngo makes her own vermouths and tinctures in-house mostly using what we grow on the patio. I love Negronis and hers are the best I've had. Enough said. (We do have beer, btw). Lastly is the music program which is my baby. The acoustics are great in this classic Romanesque building and I'm delighted to be doing virtually all music with-out amplification (I do have a sound system, so far just for the i-pod and youtube). Nothing like it! This post is long enough---more updates to come.
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An Open Letter to the Minnesota Tango Community

The Tango Society of Minnesota (TSOM) as well as the greater MN scene of tango dancers is (are) a remarkable group. It has been an extreme pleasure to perform live tango music for their dances (milongas) over the past 8 years, first with Mandragora Tango and lately with my own ensemble: Rogue Tango. Thank you all for your tremendous support, your enthusiasm, and your friendship. This note is to set the record straight as I've noticed lots of rumors flying about, saying I'm relocating and that Rogue Tango may be ending. I am a one-third partner in opening a new restaurant in Antigua, Guatemala. It is called Restaurant Angeline (we have a Facebook page) and the address is: segunda calle poniente #3, Antigua, Guatemala, Centro America. We are opening on May 16th, 2014. I'll be departing Minneapolis on May 14. I do plan on being there for a few months, initially, to really get the business up and running smoothly. My partners, Alberto Blanco and Chi Ngo, are there and tirelessly working towards our opening. I'll be running the music at Angeline. We will have tango, flamenco, and Latin jazz: music every night! Dancing too! Lots of Argentines and tango aficion in Antigua, Guatemala! Rogue Tango will continue pretty much as they are now. Our masterful pianist, Jarrod Wendland, will be directing the ensemble. He'll be using various lineups but the basic roster of artists includes: Jarrod, violinists Wendy Tangen Foster, Laura Harada, Sara Pajunen; bassists Rahn Yanes, Peter Susag, Greg Byers; guitarist Nick Haas, bandoneonist Bob Barnes. Greg may also play cello with Rogue. We may well use saxophone and other instruments from time to time. I fully intend to play with Rogue every chance I get. Rogue will continue playing Sundays at the Loring Pasta Bar (327 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis MN). As things stand now, I'm looking to return to Minneapolis sometime in August for 2-3 weeks. Again, please know how I cherish the friendships in the tango community and that I'm only looking to expand my outreach, not burn any bridges. My final shows with Rogue Tango (for now!) are May 4th and 11th. Mother's Day we will start at 5 pm and finish at 7 45pm so please plan on coming a little earlier than usual. Thank you, everyone! Now, start thinking about a vacation get-away in Antigua! Scott Mateo Davies
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RESTAURANT ANGELINE in Antigua, Guatemala!

My latest BIG news is that I am 1/3 partner in opening a fine dining/live music club in the unbelievably picturesque town of Antigua, Guatemala.  It is to be called:  Restaurant Angeline and we are looking at a soft opening around May 1st, 2014. The address is:  2 (segunda) calle poniente #3, Antigua, Guatemala, Centro America.  We are 1/2 a block from the Arch (el arco) which is a known landmark there, and alongside the San Rafael 5 star hotel. My partners are Alberto Blanco (who also happens to be my best friend...) and the wonderful Chi Ngo.  Our illustrious chef is Ali Gorbani--- he is an artiste!  We will feature European wines.  We will utilize fresh, local ingredients.  Food will be amazing! My part in this equation is to run the music program.  I will be building a Tango band (lots of Argentines there!), a Flamenco cuadro (they love flamenco in Antigua), and a Latin Jazz combo.  I'll be doing solo performances, as well.  Exciting stuff! Friends!  This will be a club you'll want to hang-out at so start making plans to visit us soon!
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Happy Spring! Changes Ahead!

Spending this entire winter in Minnesota (USA) has been very difficult.  Extreme cold, lots of snow and ice.  Well, its beautiful today (and yesterday!)----surely spring is in the air.  And, to celebrate, I'm heading to Antigua, Guatemala this evening, right after I finish my solo guitar gig.  I'm just going for a week.  Still---Antigua is an enchanted place.  And, my dear friend, Alberto, is there now and expecting me.  He missed the winter-madness, leaving for Guate at November's end. Our show:  Pasion' Flamenca was a big success.  I am very pleased with it.  The show was of very high quality;  all the players did exceptional playing/dancing/singing.  We had a big crowd, very enthusiastic.  It's both a relief that it's all over, and, a let-down.  Everyone seems to go through this, at show's end, I guess. Lastly, my website has been given a new look and an update.  Big thank yous to Nick Lethert, the web-master.  I'm excited about this and I think it'll be more user-friendly for all, more music, more video, more readable.
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Pasion’ Flamenca at St Paul, Minnesota’s Hamline University

Rachel “la Mala” Milloy & Scott Mateo Davies

Rachel “la Mala” Milloy & Scott Mateo Davies

I'm excited about this one.  Rachel "la Mala" (flamenco singer) and I have been awarded a grant by the MN Arts Board and the Legacy Fund to present our own flamenco show at Hamline University (1536 Hewitt Ave, St Paul, MN).  It'll be on Saturday evening, March 1st, starting with pre-concert remarks at 7pm and the show begins at 7:30.  The venue is the acoustically amazing Sundin Hall. It's an ambitious program that tracks the roots of flamenco, including Sefardic, Arabic and Romany song, music, and dance---this is the first half.  We've assembled a great group of violinists, percussionists, dancers, a qanun player, keyboardist as well as Greg Sagar, another fine flamenco singer. The second half deals with present day trends in flamenco, including Jazz-flamenco, World Beat, Electronica---ending with the powerful urge to return to the traditional,  what I call flamenco puro y duro. We're all involved in rehearsals now and it is an imspiring (inspired?) project, to say the least. The following Friday, March 7th, we'll be hosting a FREE dance party and flamenco jam session at the Bush Center Ballroom, next door to Sundin Hall on the Hamline campus.  This will be from 7 till 10pm. I'll also be giving a FREE guitar workshop at Sundin on Monday, Feb 24th from 1 till 3pm. Don't miss this concert!
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