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

Conductor Frédéric Chaslin

santa fe opera conductor

Conductor Frédéric Chaslin
by Dolores Mcelroy

Although he has been known to show up at parties in a rhinestone-studded cowboy shirt, cowboy hat and a pair of faux-leather shoes he got at Ross, you probably wouldn’t take The Santa Fe Opera’s Chief Conductor Frédéric Chaslin for a native Santa Fean. And you’d be right. Chaslin is a Parisian, born and bred. But he is also a deep appreciator of all things New Mexican—including the local cuisine.

“I love the local products here, the Farmers’ Market. With French cuisine, it’s all about the recipes, but with New Mexican—like Italian cuisine—it’s all about the raw products. I love the local heirloom tomatoes, the local mushrooms … and those little green chiles at Tesuque Village Market that they put in the scrambled eggs!” This is high praise from the maestro, who is a notorious foodie.

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Monster Paws

Monster Paws NM musicMonster Paws

Dancing in the audience at a Monster Paws show is kind of like being trapped inside a disco ball—in a good way.

Ask the band members how they describe their music, and the answers you’ll get will be borderline transcendental. “Songs that are fun to play,” says guitarist and singer Nate Santa Maria. On the band’s Facebook page, its genre is listed as “sounds like yer winning something.” Push a little harder and Santa Maria and singer/keyboardist Isaac Kappy will divulge adjectives like “electro” and “dance-pop.” But really, their first, more nebulous descriptions do a better job at pinning down their sound. It’s just plain fun. And yes, it sounds like you’re winning.

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Dancing With the Earth

Describing Rulan Tangen in a measured sequence of words across a page feels as impossible as trying to gather a river in one’s arms. This isn’t just because of her impressive curricula vitae. Not just because Dance magazine listed her as one of the top 25 to watch in 2007, nor because she is the founder and director of the first primarily indigenous dance company in the country. It’s not just because she’s done choreography for Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto as well as the New Line Cinema production of New World, with Colin Farrell.

And it’s not really because she’s a successful ballet dancer, actress, model, modern dancer, activist, teacher, choreographer, director and lecturer. Rather, it’s because this white space would best be filled with music and motion. With color and light and sound. If the intangible could be wrestled into tangibility and laid out on this page, you might begin to understand who Rulan Tangen truly is. Maybe.
By her own admission, she wasn’t always so enigmatic. “When I was 11, I was listening to Ravel’s Bolero on the radio,” she says, then pauses for a fraction of a second before musing, “or maybe Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet….” There’s a hint of a question mark at the end of that sentence, but it quickly fades as she recalls that in that moment, she saw her whole life. Continue reading