Sunday, July 1, 2012

Music abounding

To say I was absorbed in my prep for my talk is a little like saying Jello can be jiggly.  It was great to share the talk and being a Reader at the Huntington allows me access to great resources.  But there is so much going in Pasadena it's hard not to transition from the ivory tower to places in town where things are happening.

One of the places was the Saturday Farmer's Market at Pasadena High School.  There is always fine fruit, various vegetables, and prodigious plants.

There usually is a good bit of music, too.

I'll blame the heat for my not being able to remember the name of these fine musicians. (Dillon & Graeme - thanks, Petrea for finding the car with their names). They are two young brothers from Sierra Madre and they play beautiful European Classical music.  I don't recall if they were sharing Mozart of Beethoven; whatever it was, it was played with confidence and rich tones.

The mountains and the blue sky a grand backdrop for lines of music dancing in the heat.

In among the stalls is this gentleman.  He sings and plays another sort of classical music.  It is the music of the late 19th and early 20th century - his style of picking and phrasing is like entering a musical time machine.  He shares the music of Mexico, some of it unabashedly popular and some with the elegant lines of Agustin Lara or  Jose López Alvarez.   
I'm not quite sure why he sings to the waist of the body of the guitar.  Perhaps it's his way of amplifying the sound?  Although I tried to get his last name, he would only share that his name is Pepe.  What a beautiful old school name to accompany his old school playing.


  1. Pepe is one of the reasons I'm a regular on Saturdays.

  2. Pepe's musical style is reminiscent of my grandfather's style of singing and playing. I hear him and I enjoy a bit of sweet memory and melancholy. There's one line in a song that he sang yesterday - Cancion Mixteca - that moves me every time I hear it - more so now that I understand the depth of meaning.
    In general the song is about how far removed the singer is from their home.
    "How far I am from the land where I was born!
    Immense nostalgia invades my thoughts;
    And seeing myself so lonely and sad like a leaf in the wind,
    I want to cry, I want to die from this feeling."
    Quisiera llorar, quisiera morir de sentimiento" - longing.

  3. I remember seeing the longing in my grandfather's eyes as he would sing this song.

  4. The kind of music Pepe sings is the Mexican music I love. Truly romantic and beautiful.

    I have the young mens' business card here somewhere. Somewhere...

  5. If you get a chance, please let me know their names. I'd love to give them the recognition they deserve.

  6. Oh, I think my heart just broke a little.

  7. This song can be like the most intimate parts of opera.

  8. I honestly didn't think I'd find it, but here it is: the young men are Dillon & Graeme, "violins that sing." The card I have is at least a year old but at that time they were available for any occasion, email

  9. The older gentleman plays at the Monrovia Family Festival/Farmer's Market on Friday nights. I've seen him there for 25 years.

  10. I had no idea he was so active. He's at another site on Sunday. He's quite gifted.