Guitar duo to return to L.A.

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By Kirsten Laskey

The Guitars and Gateaux series’ performers frequently describe the series as being something more than just a concert. They mention that a Guitars and Gateaux show features a relaxed, informal, friendly atmosphere and not only celebrates music but also decadent desserts.

Tito Rios of the duo Sol y Luna is one of the performers who recognizes this quality of the guitar concerts. He said there is a closeness that the performer and the audience share.

Rios, along with his duo partner and wife, Petra Babankova, are well acquainted with the series’ qualities. They performed twice in the series in the past and will return a third time Thursday.

The concert, which is sponsored by the Los Alamos Arts Council, will be held from 7-8:30 p.m. at Fuller Lodge. Desserts will be served from 7-7:30 p.m. and the music will be played from 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Rios said he and Babankova are eager to take part in the series once again. “We’re always well received and we enjoy every single one we’ve been invited to,” he said. “We’re very supportive of the series I know Greg (Schneider, the organizer of the series) has brought many wonderful musicians and we’re honored to be a part of it.”

The audience can look forward to a musical variety during the concert.

Rios said Sol y Luna has performed Renaissance music, classical music, contemporary and original music.

However, all these genres come from the classical guitar spectrum, he said.

The composers whose work the duo features are from everywhere from South America to Eastern Europe.  “I like the pieces (and) I like the music,” Rios said.

For their own music, Rios said they incorporate a lot of motifs, or a musical pattern that is used to construct a larger section of music or melody.

Variety, he added, is important for a concert. People like hearing a range of music because it makes the concert more alive and interesting.

Besides performing, Sol y Luna offers guitar lessons. They offer 20 years of teaching experience.

In fact, it was through a teaching opportunity that Rios and Babankova met.

Rios explained his wife was interested in learning the charango, a South American 10-string instrument.

A friend recommended she take classes from Rios. Rios said when he discovered Babankova played the classical guitar the duo was born.

To this day Rios said his wife teases him that he never did teach her the charango.

One of the strengths of Sol y Luna, he said, is that they have played exclusively as a duo for years. There is a degree of integrity in the musical union and has been refined over the years. Plus, they both bring a lot of individual experience to Sol y Luna.

Babankova, Rios said, has taken several master classes from famous guitarists, and Rios has toured throughout the world.

“I’ve had lot of performance experience as well as Petra,” he said.

Tickets for the concert cost $10 for LAAC members and $15 for non-members.