Corina Gonzales

corina gon

In the following weeks I will be posting some photographs and excerpts form the interviews with the Spanish descendants I met during the journey. It has been a fascinating experience to cross our paths and I hope to share some glimpses about how they feel when thinking in their identity.

Corina was born in Taos, in northern New Mexico, and now lives in Santa Fe. She works as an accountant and also serves as a Major and Logistics Officer for the U.S. Army Reserves. As she told me, she belongs to many cultures, with one ancestor from France and some from Spain, who arrived via Mexico, finally settling in Rancho de Taos on what was then the frontier of New Spain. Some of the descendants of these first conquistadors were mixed blood with Native Americans from the surrounding area. Others were mixed with the ‘‘genízaros’’ that settled in this lands. They traded with the nomadic Navajos, Apaches, Utes and Comanches, who in most cases had been forced to accept Catholicism and speak Spanish. Corina is not totally sure about where exactly in Spain her ancestors came from, but she proudly celebrates her shared roots. She has formed a traditional folkloric group with her twelve-year-old daughter and they dance together at many fiestas in and around Santa Fe. Each New Year’s Eve, she joins her family in Taos to dance traditional ‘‘Comanche dances,’’ which honor the arrival of a new period.

Building Cigar Box Guitars

I met with Cipriano firstly in Abiquiu and afterwards in El Rito, at his home, to interview him for the project. Recently he has started a kickstarter campaign to raise funds to continue with his project where he hopes to go into the schools to teach students from 3rd to 6th grades how to build a cigar box guitar, that they learn to play and keep at the end. Cipriano has played an important role in preserving the traditional songs of New Mexico and has collected the lyrics mainly in Spanish and melodies of romances, entregas, décimas, cuandos and corridos. If you can help please donate or promote this beautiful project.

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You can see his campaign here:
http://kck.st/1wIs5Q2

Exhibition will open on the 30th April

This month we have been really busy preparing for the exhibition that will open on the 30th of April in Washington DC at the Former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain. I know that some Spanish descendants from California will be attending to the private view so if you would like to know more details about this event just get in touch with me via email.  movingforward@spainculture.us  Hope to see you there!

MFLB Flyer

Living off the grid in New Mexico

lowrudy2I was really looking forward to meet with Rudy Sena at his ranch in Galisteo, New Mexico. My good friends Bill and Laurie had told me many stories about him and also about his Spanish connections. On the Sunday we drove from Santa Fe to his home to get to know him a bit better. Rudy lives off the grid in his ranch and when we arrived he was chatting with a friend in his car, in the middle of the field, because it was too windy to be outside. He was talking with nostalgia about the rodeo that he has organised for many editions bringing the local community together. But this summer was going to be a bit different; he had decided to have a break from it and for the first time in over forty years the rodeo was not going to be celebrated in Galisteo. – Next year, he said, when the new bridge is built, we will have another gathering and will have to celebrate it double.

Musical day

In Abiquiu last Saturday I had the chance to meet some of the people I interviewed in late March such as  Sofía García, who was presenting her painted retablos as part of the Abiquiu Artists Tour. Also, whilst visiting the Library  I got introduced to Cipriano Vigil a New Mexican musician and folklorist who first learned traditional music by listening to older musicians who performed at dances, weddings and fiestas. Born in Chamisal and now resident of El Rito, Cipriano has been making cigar box guitars and other sort of instruments which he plays beautifully. Cipriano also has played an important role in preserving the traditional songs shared within the communities of New Mexico and has collected the lyrics and melodies of romances, entregas, décimas, cuandos, corridos…

cipriano vigil

 

In the evening we visited Abiquiu lake and afterwards we hiked to the Monastery of Christ, where at 4pm the Benedict monks that live there gathered at their church to sing for 10 minutes their prays.

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Lucille Martinez – Santa Fe

Lucille celebrates proudly her heritage and the traditions of her Spanish and Native American ancestors. Three years after moving to Santa Fe, Lucille started to visit the local archives to learn more about her genealogy. In this video she tells us about her exciting journey to the past and about how she met her husband whilst researching at the archives.