01 August 2010

Los Compadres

"Dime de donde vienes y te digo para donde vas" " Tell me where you've been and I will tell you where you are going."

Los Compadres are practicing at the local barber shop. One of the last refuges of the original downtown. Running invited me to check out the new piano jazz bar-after getting an invitation I make a side trip to pop in on Los Compadres practice. It is wonderful to step into this traditional man's world where all the effects of the years are gathered on the walls; Guitar cases open, grooming supplies, a gazillion polaroids fill every bit of wall space. Old black and white photos, signs, and I swear an image of St. Jude smiles at me. What a warm welcoming- The Compadres, Jesse Rodriguez, Manny and Herman Ullibari greet my pops and I with their warm smiles. Come in!! Come in!! hand shakes and kisses. They always ask how my mother is- and welcome me back from Mexico. I instantly feel sentimental and feel the warmth of what I love embrace me in this small space. They sing Carmelita-the guitars, the rich voices mix with the smell of soap and the pale color of blue. History; Grandfathers, grandsons; They have known me since I was a little girl- this is traditional music. I feel it embrace me like grandfather's arms and the warmth of grandmother's kitchens and homemade cooking. I drift between the worlds of Mexico/ US and I feel the music is a bridge. This expression of grace and gratitude. I think about how many years they have played together. How many weddings, gatherings, funerals; all the faces I can remember of some people who are no longer here. I think of my pueblo and those singers who bring us joy, laughter. They sing a few more songs and I make a few pictures - I hope I can get them recorded maybe at the punk rock studio - I feel grateful for the gift of their songs they will share at the Suenos de Aztlan opening this coming friday. I make mental notes of still lifes to make when I can come again and have time to take it all in and see all the little details. Let me remember this always-

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