Rahimah and Abel’s romance has modern fairytale vibes. For her, it was always in the stars that she would end up in love with someone she had known when she was young. “It’s kind of a magical story. We met in the late 1980’s when I was in second grade and he was in first. I’ve had crushes on boys since I was very young, but I had a rule that I could only like boys older than me so he was never an option in my mind,” Rahimah laughs.
The two bounced in and out of each other’s lives for years. Abel moved to LA and back to Virginia a few times, each time bringing new music and style with him. “When he came back in 1996, we ended up in the same high school and I couldn’t believe he was the same person. His hair, his features, his voice – in my eyes, everything about his physical form had changed from how I knew him when we were younger. I’m still trying to understand it,” Rahimah recalls.
By the time they were 17, they were into their third year of being in the same tiny highschool together. “I was giving Abel a massage during our closing circle at school. We were a pretty touchy bunch of kids in a very alternative highschool environment and people giving each other massages at any given moment was not unusual. I remember that I looked at Abel and it occurred to me for the very first time that he was a person I could potentially date! It was such a surprise! The thought intrigued and fascinated me. The rest, as they say, is history,” Rahimah shares.
They bonded deeper together because of their shared aesthetic and love of music, finding their ways as multi-instrumentalists themselves. By the time they officially moved into their own place together in 2001 after dating for three years, making music was an integral part of their lifestyle. They had an ever-growing collection of recording equipment, keyboards, samplers, effects processors, and microphones, as well as a four track reel to reel and an acoustic guitar that all started out in their living room, then their bedroom, and eventually moved into a room dedicated to music recording and production. They loved to experiment and create as much as they could with Abel often sampling Rahimah’s vocals and integrating their poetry in their home studio productions.
Over the years Abel made a career out of being a songwriter, a recording studio engineer, and a producer while Rahimah carried on as a poet and singer-songwriter with a deepening passion for embodied movement – teaching the Alexander Technique as her main source of income.
They managed to do many things together like have some kids, get married, grow gardens, have a growing and changing animal family and inevitably watching life grow and change. And songs continued to come through.
Before 2019, whenever the couple would release music it would be released as Abel Okugawa but they often wondered what to call their duo. It was during these moments that Rahimah would wonder if this wasn’t the purpose of her name Red Flower Lake but was not going to give the name to anything without absolute clarity. Red Flower Lake was the name “grandpa” Henry Gomez of Taos Pueblo had given Rahimah when she was a baby in a traditional ceremony meeting and for as long as she can remember, she knew she would use this name as a prayerful honoring of the dream that was calling to her.When a friend and renowned artist requested they write music for a soundtrack and perform live at the exhibit at the end of 2019, Abel and Rahimah formally solidified their musical union as Red Flower Lake – bringing renewed energy, curiosity, and inspiration as well as a deepened sense of purpose into their lifelong musical union.