For the Love of Dance

It’s a banner year for Aspen Santa Fe Ballet! On July 11 and 12, they bring an inspiring program to the Lensic: Square None, choreographed by Norbert de la Cruz III; Jiří  Kylián’s Return to a Strange Land; and the company’s newest creation, The Heart(s)pace, by Nicolo Fonte. (The Encore! performance is August 30 if they sell out before you get your tickets.) On July 18, Juan Siddi Flamenco will perform for the first time since announcing their groundbreaking partnership with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. Jean-Phillipe Malaty, executive director of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, talks to Local Flavor about an exciting collaboration “that’s never before been done in the field of dance.” We can’t wait for the curtains to open.

Sharen Bradford

Sharen Bradford

Local Flavor: What was the vision behind the collaboration between Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and Juan Siddi Flamenco?

Jean-Phillipe Malaty : Myself and the artistic director, Tom Mossbrucker, being a little bit older and being in the business longer, remember how it is to start a dance company from scratch. We were advising Juan and helping out as friends, but there comes a point where one needs more help than just friendly advice. Juan’s company had been struggling for six years—not artistically [but in other ways]—so we dreamed up the idea of combining forces.
We are celebrating our 18th season. We have survived the recession—it took a lot of our focus and attention. This was the right time to take on another project—to take on Juan and relieve him of pay roll managing, fundraising, budgeting, producing. [The collaboration] is something that really came out organically. It really made sense; we were two great companies, and the opportunity presented itself to collaborate and share resources. We already share our company between two communities, Aspen and Santa Fe, so we are used to that. It’s who we are, collaboration. We have the resources, knowledge and wealth of experience. It feels good to be in a position to share that. Continue reading

¡Chuscales!

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 10.58.28 AMTo grow up to be an internationally renowned flamenco guitarist, one of the best, Chuscales couldn’t have chosen a more magical environment than the one his childhood immersed him in. Hearing him describe it is like entering a mythological land that time forgot.

Born Jose Valle in Antequera, Spain, into a traditional gypsy family full of talented professional musicians and dancers, he was surrounded, daily and nightly, by the intense passions that flamenco celebrates: those darker, richer, more mysterious and eerie regions of the human heart. This nearly inexplicable quality, known as duende, was the air his family breathed. All through his earliest childhood, Chuscales listened to, watched, absorbed and became one with flamenco. Continue reading

Stephanie Hatfield

stephanieFeb2014It’s a very special thing when someone gives you their heart, when they are willing to give you a good look into their soul with all its beauties and flaws. It takes tremendous generosity of spirit and courage to step up to the plate—or in this case, the mic—and put it all on the line. When Stephanie Hatfield gets on stage, she hands us this gift. This is what she does, and she does it through a great talent for song.

Stephanie and I hang out in the control room of Frogville Studios, where her husband, Bill Palmer, has been the head sound engineer for eleven years. Listening to Stephanie speak is one thing. She has a lovely voice, and there are hints, but just hints, of the power within. However, listening to her sing, as I did a few nights ago at Duel Brewing? Well…

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Sounds of the Holidays

soundsofchristmas1Christmas in New Mexico offers a feast for all the senses. The eye takes in winter landscapes crowned by frost-clear blue skies that span the heavens, as well as the farolitos and luminarias that deck the streets and houses. Taste is pleased with traditional brandy-laced bizcochitos, luscious posole cooked with green or red chile, and piping hot blue corn atole or cocoa with crema. The nose draws in the scent of wood smoke, incense, piñon and many tempting foods, while our sense of touch luxuriates in the feel of coats, hats and mittens guarding one from the cold wind—or the still, quiet New Mexico chill that can be even more potent.

But for me, the final sense—hearing—is the one that takes the coin every time during a New Mexico Christmas. Nothing can match having the ear caressed by holiday music performed by our own artists in local venues from churches to clubs, with inspired artistry (and sometimes even on the street during Christmas Eve)!

Since I was trained as a classical musician, my own holiday music tastes run that way, and I admit to a partiality for the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, because that organization brought me to Santa Fe and New Mexico three decades ago. I came here to sing in the chorale’s first season, in 1983, and stayed. I’ve since followed the group over the years, and I’ve been impressed with how it maintains a definite sound presence, even under four different music directors: founder Lawrence Bandfield, then Dennis Shrock, Linda Mack and now Joshua Habermann. Continue reading

Nosotros: Muy caliente!

Nosotros New Mexico musicThe band Nosotros is muy caliente, and it is local Nuevo Mexico. To find out the story behind the music, I meet with Nosotros members Randy Sanchez (guitar and tres) and Dennis Jasso (drums and vocals) in their Santa Fe sound studio. It’s tucked in one of my favorite parts of town, on a side street off Baca. This is an old-time neighborhood with modest houses tucked in together, and there’s a creative vibe in the air from the grass-roots arts scene. Dennis leads me down a pathway though a garden gate, and we wend through a little courtyard until we get to the studio, a soundproof room within a room. We settle into the comfortable space, and listening to Randy and Dennis, I know that they come from their corazones. Right away there is a feeling of nosotros—Spanish for “we” and one of those deceptively simple yet powerful words. Skip the pretense, skip the hype. We hang out, we talk. Continue reading

amp it up

amp concerts albuquerque music

AMP It Up!

Neal Copperman wants to tune you up. Not with brass knuckles or by crawling under the hood, but with music from all over the world. Copperman, the executive director of AMP Concerts, is a man with a vision. He wants as many people as possible in the Albuquerque area to sample an international palette of music genres spanning the globe.

According to its Facebook page, “AMP brings the best in folk, acoustic, Americana, international and eclectic music to Albuquerque and beyond. AMP prides itself in creating community through music.”

The collection of artists that all find room under Copperman’s aegis is ample evidence of eclectic—Allison Krause and Union Station, Paco de Lucía, Seun Kuti and Egypt 80, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Mala Maña, Hugh Masekela, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Philip Glass.

Why music as career? It just so happened that Copperman, a thin, wiry man with glasses and a ponytail, who, despite a degree in mathematics, loved a variety of sounds and bringing people together much more than formulas and algorithms. Continue reading