Robert Mirabal’s annual Christmas Concert at the TCA is a Taos tradition. For over a decade, Robert has gifted home grown fans and friends with an evening of story telling, music and dance.
Last week, although the premise was no different – intimate and relaxed – Robby Romero joined him onstage on guitar for the entire show. Although Robby mainly held down the groove on rhythm, he did give us a taste of his great lead licks and for the most part many of the songs they played and sang together on, were Romero compositions or new collaborations by Iron Horse, their band.
It was great to get a glimpse of where they are going with Iron Horse. Robby’s point of view (although his New Mexico Apache roots run as deep as Robert’s Pueblo heritage,) has always been globally inclined, inclusive and calling for respect for all Mother Earth’s endangered Indigenous Peoples and cultures, whereas Mirabal draws on the Red Willow earth he farms like his father and father’s fathers before him, to create cultural and spiritual metaphors.
Early in the evening he distributed corn seeds from the Mother plants at the Pueblo, to all who wanted them. His introduction to the song he then performed was prefaced with some advice regarding planting the corn and included a harsh admonishment to Monsanto GMO’s.
Robert’s contribution to the Rock and Roll Roots that Robby was practically born into (more on that next week) takes these songs (both his and Romero’s) to a different energetic level, yet in no way distracts from the message of the songs themselves.
Robby has been touring the world, bringing his message of Mother Earth and her fragile eco-systems to people everywhere for more than two decades. His youthful rage has tempered as his hair has silvered, yet the passion for his life-work remains and his dedication to the well being of all of our children, continues to be his main focus.
Toward the end of the evening Robby welcomed Mina Tank and Dakota Romero onstage. The women provided great harmonies on a few numbers including the namesake single, Iron Horse. Both men have incredible stage presence and Romero in particular, is a consummate pro. When early on in the show the monitors went out, he made it appear as if it were simply part of the set without losing the audience’s interest. Mirabal’s grace and prowess on the flutes (and other wind instruments) he makes and plays, brought an almost shamanic vibe to the stage that will work brilliantly in a bigger room, with a rhythm section.
They did play one Christmas song, Rick Danko’s Christmas Must be Tonight with lyrics slightly altered to make it Taos Pueblo relevant. Rick, one of Robby’s mentors was surely in the room.
Tonight the guys are cookin’ up something at The Farmhouse, I’ll post a review here tomorrow,
But Can They Cook?
The Farmhouse Cafe and Bakery hosted an evening with Iron Horse last night. The event was a fundraiser to benefit an organic breakfast and lunch program for Taos school children and Tiwa Farm.
The Iron Horse Chefs had their gear set up but for most of the evening they were in the kitchen overseeing the plating of the food they’d been cooking for the past two days. Robby’s Green Thunder Dip (fresh roasted green chile, masses of garlic in organic sour cream) with Blue Corn chips was on every table. Mountains of Tamales – Vegetarian and Buffalo – heavenly Calabacita Enchiladas, Robert’s Deer Stew with Pinon and Posole and one of Robby’s specialties, Buffalo Stew with Green Chile and Wild Rice from the Ojibwe Territories in Minnesota where four of his children live with their mother, actress, TV host and attorney Stacey Thunder.
Desert was a traditional Taos Pueblo sweet treat. Baked Butternut Squash filled with rice, dried fruits and drizzled with honey. All the food was locally grown (except for the wild rice) and organic.
The food was hearty and delicious, perfect fare for a snowy night after Christmas in Taos.The cafe was packed, the event was beyond sold out and apparently many were extremely generous and gave more than the $50.00 per person prix fixe menu.
A great evening was had by all and hopefully due to awareness and money raised, Taos children will be eating good food at school in the coming year.
Stay tuned for more Iron Horse Chef Events and yes they are award winning musicians and they cook!
Photographs of Iron Horse members Robby Romero, Robert Mirabal, Mina Tank, Dakota Romero and the Trujillo family dancers at the TCA by Bill Curry