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Seattle Winterfest: On Nerves and Wide-Open Spaces

posted in performance on november 29th, 2007

Hooray! The Seattle Winterfest has … um … fested! For those of you just tuning in, this last Sunday was my second show with the Peña. And it was my first show anyplace as wide-open and "public" as the Seattle Center. For all you non-Seattleites: the "Center" is Seattle’s cultural-artsy, fun-parky sort gathering ground. Built for the World’s Fair in 1962, it is home to the Experience Music Project (think blob-shaped building), the Science Center (think arches), the Space Needle (think, eh … never mind), and any number of perennial ethno-smorbasbord and hippified gatherings. The Center House is, well, at the center of all this.

This is, or course, where nerves come in. Having a background in blues, I’m no stranger to the stage—and I’m not particularly afraid about getting up in front of people. But my nervous system gets weirded out by public appearances. Tragically, this is what connects my brain to my hands. For this show, at least, "the claw" (Markus’s moniker for an oh-so worthless set of panic-frozen fingers) didn’t keep me from getting the job done—most of my job was chording, really. In any case it’s a condition I wouldn’t at all mind getting over. Marcos Carmona couldn’t resist the "Hey Andy—you’re doing a solo, right?" jab. Hey everybody—here’s three minutes of me doing ghastly violence to an Em7 chord (yes, that’s the one that requires but one finger).

But enough chatter—the Peña has been YouTube-d! (Er… thanks to yours truly…) Here’s the first dance number, what we’re calling the "Sevillanas de Perrito":

We had actually started the set off with one of the show’s several vocal numbers (perhaps I’ll post some of these later). In any case, I think as a first video post, the dance arrangements are a bit more "spectacular."

With that in mind, here’s another one, the closing one, in fact: our Bulerías—paradoxically titled "Alegría, alegría":

For those of you following along at home, yes, that’s a bulería in "mi" (what would be "E" without the capo—which is on 5 here). The range of bulería never ceases to amaze me. Just when I thought I could count on this particular palo for something dark and moody—or phrygean at least—here we are in a major key.

Will wonders never cease? No, surely not.


tags: peña
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