Flamenco doesn't stop because we do. It goes on and grows and is reborn through generations, both old and young. Though our lives are dotted with events that we consider distractions, or worse yet, tragedies, flamenco is ever-present, waiting like a loyal friend. It doesn't demand anything other than what we demand of ourselves, and what you offer it, it gives back (and then some).
A mistake I've made is to see flamenco like a fruit which will one day over-ripen. It may seem as though there is an ideal time to harvest it and take it into our being, and if we wait too long, that time will pass us by. This goal-oriented thinking however, disregards the more important part of flamenco that truly feeds the soul: the process of being. Who I am today will surely change with each passing moment, and these moments will inform my flamenco experience as much as flamenco, in turn, informs my life.
Mele and I have had life-changing moments this past year in droves. Our baby girl, Gloria, was born in March. Our dear friend and flamenco guitarist, Ricardo Anglada, suffered a stroke at age 29 and despite an initially bleak diagnosis, has come back to do things he was not supposed to be able to do. I've had to put off developing flamenco skills to work a 40 hour week and finish my undergrad degree online at night. These events are packed with lessons and experiences to draw from, and the change in us will cause change in our understanding of flamenco whether or not we are able to be in the studio 8 hours a day.
Our current state has caused growth for Mele and I in many ways. Mele has taken over teaching for a few sessions now, and she is settled back into something she had been away from for quite awhile. It has added a depth to her art and renewed her enthusiasm for the creative process which is a driving force in her journey. I've experienced a surprisingly rewarding mixture of humility and intellectual stimulation which has taken my focus toward developing a deeper love for flamenco. We've both looked to Ricardo's hardships and have recognized them as flamenco in of themselves, living, breathing and struggling while speaking truth. We are inspired by his unshakable climb back into the light, all the while experiencing the very discovery of the light and all it reveals through the eyes of our sweet baby girl.
There are many things which are obvious characteristics of flamenco such as the energy, the sound, and the humanity. What we're seeing today however, are those things which are much more subtle than all that, so much so that they're easy to miss. Flamenco is as much in the hospital room as it is on the stage. Flamenco is as present in the lonely moments of the work day as it is in a juerga with friends and family. Flamenco doesn't stop because we do, and it doesn't cease to be a part of our lives because it can't, though we may seek to distance ourselves from it. Flamenco is the story of the gift of life that God has granted us all. May our ears be opened so that we may listen and comprehend it. May we be still and