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.