Local hip-hop promoter Tarynce Hise is excited about a hip-hop event he hopes will become an annual party. It's called "4/20 Phest" and it takes place today (April 20), 7 p.m., at Old Martina's Hall, 4140 State Road 68 in Ranchos de Taos. Tickets for this all-ages show are $12, $15 for couples.
The local talent night is the brainchild of rap artist Hise, who also goes by "Tmula Bsm." He is a protege of American rapper Waka Flocka, who took him under his wing and allowed him to form a satellite of his Atlanta, Georgia-based Brick Squad label here in Taos. Flocka continues to mentor him as an artist and producer.
Included in the evening's lineup are hip-hop artists Laguna Munta, Creep Muzik, Colton Emery and Lil Criminal, along with Po.10.Cee, a Taos Pueblo "revolutionary hip-hop" crew rooted in pointedly Native American vibe. The Mystic Dance team from Taos High School is also planning a special light show and performance.
The night will be broadcast live on radio station KKIT-FM 95.9 "The Mountain" - with DJ Jeff Singer hosting.
In addition to the aforementioned hip-hop artists, Hise is also excited to showcase the talents of dancer Julia Fernandez de Maez.
Walk into the nondescript adobe dance studio near the famous San Francisco de Asís Church in Ranchos de Taos and you'll find a Ninja 650 motorcycle with a burnt orange tank, tapestries adorning the adobe walls and hardwood floors - and the owner, Julia Fernandez de Maez, a 30-something Taos native and Renaissance woman.
De Maez trained with famed flamenco dancer Catalina Rio Fernandez on the historic Santa Fe Plaza as a teenager and says dancing saved her from a dark descent into drug addiction during her high school years.
In 2006, she packed up her pickup truck and moved to the Midwest, where she opened her first dance studio in Watertown, South Dakota. She expanded her teachings and performance art across North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Louisiana and Colorado. In the summer of 2015, she opened her current studio on the Ranchos de Taos Plaza.
Her grandfather's declining health is what brought her back to New Mexico.
Since his passing, de Maez said her "roots were reformed, restrengthened and I am more hungry for this dance, more hungry for this life than ever before."
She is the lead dance instructor at Taos Integrated School of the Arts and regularly organizes flamenco productions in her community.
De Maez's favorite quote is from Queen Elizabeth I and her 1588 speech to the troops at Tilbury to the land forces earlier assembled at Tilbury in Essex in preparation for repelling the expected invasion by the Spanish Armada. It goes: "I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king."
Overall, de Maez's life has been a series of personal struggles and triumphs, but in the end, her zest for life and helping others overcome adversity with dance has been her battlefield. She uses the wisdom of her time as a river guide on the Río Grande when coaching young people. The river safety briefing is a metaphor for life, de Maez said.
"If you fall out of the boat in the line of current, you swim back to the boat," de Maez said. "You don't float down the river; you must be aggressive in your self-rescue. You must want to succeed as much as you want to breathe."
In addition to working on the river and driving a fast motorcycle, she ice fishes during the winter months in Fargo, North Dakota, and pheasant hunts in the fall. De Maez likes to use heavy metal music for her eclectic dance routines mixing martial arts, swords, belly dancing and flamenco. She won the local Taos talent contest and performed flamenco with regional orchestras and on national stages.
Hise says the night will offer something for everyone and hopes 4/20 Phest will be something to look forward to every spring in Taos.