I had dinner at Casa Vicente this week – always a wonderful venue for sangria, tapas and the beautiful art form called flamenco. This restaurant helps illustrate the lovely and rich cultural roots in Tucson’s cuisine scene. Yes, there was flamenco and Spanish guitar accompanying our meal. The performance brought back memories of my first visit to Casa Vicente, when I was first introduced to the stunning rhythmic dance style of the flamenco.
Back then, I could not take my eyes off a wonderful dancer, Macarena, whose swirling skirt and exquisite hand clapping accompanied the quick and resounding taps of her red shoes. But the most magical part of the experience came from the intricate strumming patterns of the Spanish guitar accompanying Macarena’s dance. The man performing on guitar in both classical and flamenco style was Ismael Barajas, a gentle, creative musician whose great talent evokes such power on stage. Ismael studied with renowned Spanish guitarists as well as at the University of Arizona, where he later instructed. Ismael has performed across the United States, drawing audiences into the emotional experience of the flamenco art.
Yet to me one of Ismael’s most outstanding accomplishments involves the holiday CDs he records in behalf of the local food bank. Ismael is a talented artist, yes, and a generous one, as well!
I missed Ismael and his music on Friday night, and I wish him well. His work strikes a chord in my soul and has helped me develop a great love of his profound music. The great photo here was taken by Leigh, my photographer-husband. Did you know Leigh and I met in photography class, some 37 years ago? I guess love and friendship can last forever.