Ulises Diaz: Flamenco heart in Archway

5 Mar

Everyone has a story. This blog’s 2nd guest post is by Joanna Bevan who works with Here To Islington. Here she interviews her housemate,  musician, Ulises Diaz, about his Flamenco heart and Islington soul. Find out how to contribute a guest post (or nominate a person to be interviewed) on islingtonfacesblog at the bottom of this post.

Ulises Diaz with the cajon. ‘‘I teach people from all over the world, there’s a high demand to learn Spanish, be it for work, travel or just a hobby, but sometimes people struggle with the three disciplines of Flamenco.’’

Ulises Diaz with the cajon. ‘‘I teach people from all over the world, there’s a high demand to learn Spanish, be it for work, travel or just a hobby, but sometimes people struggle with the three disciplines of Flamenco.’’

‘’Good coffee is important,’’ says Ulises Diaz pouring another freshly brewed coffee into mismatched mugs, as we sit at the large family dining room table in his home, which he shares with 13 other people – and two cats – in Archway. Sunlight streams through the French windows, casting a warming glow onto the kitsch sunflower tablecloth.  The hotchpotch house has a homely Mediterranean feel, perhaps because Ulises is originally from Toledo, Spain.

“The diversity in Islington’s artistic scenes are open and dynamic, there are always new people to refresh it and it never gets tired,” says Ulises, 36, who has been in the UK for the past 10 years. He has made a living out of all things stereotypically Spanish: from teaching the language a short bike ride away in Haringay College, to cooking up copious amounts of paella.

Making paella.

Ulises Diaz making paella.

He also teaches and performs the fiery flamenco at home in Archway and all across London. “Sometimes people struggle with the three disciplines of flamenco – dance, singing and playing music, but they are all interconnected,” says Ulises who was originally a singer until a medical complication. Soon the cajon, a box-like drum, became his instrument of choice – an essential element for any authentic flamenco.

What do you like about Islington?

  • “The shops and restaurants of the Essex road are one of the highlights of Islington with food from all around the world
  • “Archway has a buzz with new initiatives like the Farmers’ Market on Holloway Road in Archway http://www.archwaymarket.org/ and street entertainment such as the Million Minutes project http://www.amillionminutes.org/.
  • ‘’My two favourite hotspots are close to home on Junction Road in Archway, it has to be St John’s Tavern http://www.stjohnstavern.com/ for some excellent gastro food followed by ‘The Hideaway  http://www.thehideawaybar.co.uk/ for some late night drinking’’
El Molino coffee shop, 10 Hornsey Road sells paella pans and traditional Spanish snacks. It's open Monday - Friday and for Arsenal home games.

El Molino coffee shop, 10 Hornsey Road sells paella pans and traditional Spanish snacks. It’s open Monday – Friday and for Arsenal home games.

Spanish thinking
Ulises thinks Islington people can learn much from the Spanish way of life. “There is something about the sense of privacy that is more diluted in our societies. I think that there is something to learn about relaxing and surrendering to spontaneity,” he says.

Although the Spanish joke that, “on graduating you have three options available – by air by land or by sea,” many Spaniards find “it’s not an easy path” integrating with people in Islington’s less than sunny shores. Seems like this might be a good time to add a Mediterranean approach by pulling a few chairs up around the Paella pot and inviting the neighbours round. Viva la Vida!

To contact Ulises for Spanish language or Flamenco lessons try emailing: despues_de_la_tona_na@yahoo.es

This guest post was written by Joanna Bevan (photo taken by Evgenia Kharitonova). Joanna has a background in community development and lives in Archway. She researched community resilience at the City University of New York. She speaks five languages and loves writing poetry and running marathons. "The best thing about living in Islington is the huge amount of world cuisine on offer."

This guest post was written by Joanna Bevan (photo taken by Evgenia Kharitonova). Joanna has a background in community development and lives in Archway. She researched community resilience at the City University of New York. She speaks five languages and loves writing poetry and running marathons. “The best thing about living in Islington is the huge amount of world cuisine on offer.” Thanks to Here To Islington for linking islingtonfacesblog with Joanna Bevan.

Over to you
Would you like to nominate someone to be interviewed? Or would you like to write a guest post for this blog? if the answer is yes for either please email nicolabaird.green@gmail.com

If you’d like to feature on this blog, or make a suggestion about anyone who grew up, lives or works in Islington please let me know, via nicolabaird.green@gmail.com. Thank you. 

If you liked this interview please SHARE on twitter or Facebook. Even better follow islingtonfacesblog.com (see menu top right), @nicolabairduk

This blog is inspired by Spitalfields Life written by the Gentle Author.

If you enjoyed this post you might like to look at the A-Z list of posts, or the A-Z of jobs to find friends, neighbours and inspiration. Thanks for stopping by. Nicola

 
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2 Responses to “Ulises Diaz: Flamenco heart in Archway”

  1. hogan March 17, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

    Have you ever been to the landseer? Good guest ales, great atmosphere, food a little pricey though.

    • nicola baird blogs March 17, 2015 at 4:46 pm #

      Can’t tell if you are spam or not, but yes the Landseer is a lovely Islington pub, thanks for the recommendation. Nicola

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