TRAVEL PORTRAIT 100: December 29, 2022

Out of the Wilderness [listen]
[one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight | nine | ten | eleven | twelve | part thirteen]

A continuation of a fictional story.

Before putting on his suitable attire, Simpaticas limbered his hands by tuning the guitar. First, he strummed some chords, then adjusted the pegs--some clockwise to lower the string pitch, counter to heighten the tone. Once the chords were harmonious, he practiced scales--ascending and descending the octave, flicking a string, while positioning a finger on the fretboard. After completing a few octaves, he quickened the tempo. This involved his right-hand fingers and thumb picking the strings; the left-hand fingers coordinating the note. To accentuate the top and bottom of each melodic rotation, his right ring finger tapped the acoustic mahogany. When his dexterity became more precise, he slowed to a moderate pace.

Next, Simpaticas focused on his breathing as he continued to play. The inhale though his nostrils lasted two beats; the exhale, similarly. Occasionally, he would observe his look in the vanity mirror. He would smile and frown, now and then, raise and furl his eyebrows, all the while maintaining his respiration cadence. The flow of this mindfulness exercise loosened his shoulders, elbows, wrists and digits; however, the muscles controlling his joints seized when his thoughts drifted to the concert performance--the songs! This distraction pounded a heady conundrum.

"Where's the list," he asked scanning the dressing table. "Ah, here."

Simpaticas read the list he and Elena compiled: traditional songs intermixed with fan favorites, and signature tunes. The songs, as itemized, did not flow from one to the next. She wanted him to figure out the arrangement.

"An appeasing brainstorm; what 'they' expect," he tutted, and admonished, "Too busy promoting the show and conducting workshops!"

Simpaticas tossed the paper onto the dressing table. In the vanity mirror, he caught sight of his disgust. Trying to calm down, he closed his eyes and massaged the bridge of his nose with his left thumb and index finger. He sighed in an attempt to relieve the stress:

"A storied career, ending with a wrote performance; playing audience sentiments; a lighthearted remembrance, the autobiography… A trite project Elena set up for me as I fade into retirement… something to do!"

Simpaticas grunted to ward off cursing his well-intentioned daughter. He believed his integrity was on the line every time he pretended to be a personality, a showman. Yes. In the past, he had to be practical, and make a living for his family. She, Elena, was, with respect, doing that now for her father: being considerate financially. He understood this. However, he swore not to go through the motions tonight. Simpaticas decided to play to his heart's finale.

"Música flamenca es la lingua franca," he mumbled.

The guitarist cupped his hands and clapped once, then repeated the phrase. On the next iteration, he clapped the syllabic palmas, stressing the third, sixth, eighth, tenth and twelfth beats.

Simpaticas turned his face away from the mirror and glanced downwards to better concentrate on the chant/palmas eurythmy. Maintaining syncopation, he extemporized, permutated the word order, the accented meter. Eventually, the words seemed to fade away. Simpaticas achieved a meditative state. Only the percussion vibrated the air; the sound carried him to a graceful silencio--his hands clasped in prayer. Glistening, he opened his eyes, looked past his reflection in the mirror, and saw the gaze.


The loud vocalization broke his trance. He stood, hurriedly made himself presentable, calmly grasped the guitar, and headed towards the stage, leaving the song list behind, determined to bare his soul.

The audience, taken aback by the commotion that had transpired, conveyed reverence when a floorboard squeaked and Simpaticas appeared, walked to his chair, sat, perched his foot on the stool, rested the guitar in front of his torso. They watched with anticipation as he looked stage-right, stage-left. When Simpaticas looked forward, he peered beyond the proscenium, craning his neck to view the balcony as if the floodlights were not effecting his sight. He felt their presence; the audience, waiting to receive his.

Simpaticas began to play one string note at a time: do, re, mi fa, so, la, ti do. He paused (inhale), then strummed the beginning do, re, and back to the original do. He used the rasgueado abianco technique--the measure: inhale/exhale; inhale/exhale; inhale/exhale/inhale/exhale. The prelude concluded with another inhale, and a tap to punctuate the nursery rhyme--exhale.

The audience was confused. Simpaticas heard a murmured, "¿Que?" Or was that an, "okay," he wondered briefly.

A young one shouted, "¡Mamá!" Excited, he proceeded to tell her about the workshop he attended a couple weeks ago. "… ¡esa es la cancion! (That's the song!!!)"
His mother shushed him.

The audience understood Simpaticas' humor and chuckled when he pointed in the direction of the childish outburst. There was a smattering of applause accompanying the witticism.

Done with the fun and games, Simpaticas squirmed in his chair, took a deep breath, and became more sophisticated when the pick, pluck, flick, strum and tap were utilized in his composition. He delved deeper into his palos, the improvised complicatedness of using both hands to play melody and percussion. He intertwined folk song after folk song with falsetas variations: riffs based upon juxtaposing regional notation themes and styles of flamenco technique. This combination became known as the Seguir Simpáticas y ritmo.

Hearing their voice, the audience followed the extended musical journey of inclusiveness. Their acceptance was reflected by a cacophonous roar and applause. Shouted accolades (El Duende, dueño de casa) were bestowed throughout the cascading adoration raining down on Simpaticas. Elena stood, walked to the foot of the stage, and handed her father the bouquet of roses. He raised the floral trophy above his head in conjunction with his guitar. After taking another bow, Simpaticas exited stage mimicking the ovation tromp: the approval rating of a legendary giant.

Feel free to exercise thought by sending me an email regarding preparation nuances. You may eat easy when you eat ingredients. (Disclaimer)
Copyright © 2022 by Edward K. Brown II, All Rights Reserved.