Returning to a favorite place

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By Kirsten Laskey

Ricko Donovan has lived in Madrid, Spain and traveled throughout Ireland but despite these faraway destinations, it is a local venue that he is looking forward to performing in.

Donovan will complete this year’s Los Alamos Arts Council’s Guitars and Gateaux series, which will start at 7 p.m. Thursday at Fuller Lodge.

Donovan concluded the series last year as well and he said he is eager to return to Fuller Lodge.

“I really love the lodge,” he said.

Donovan explained he discovered Fuller Lodge while playing in Taos and Santa Fe. His attraction to the lodge is partly due to its good acoustics and partly because of its history.

He described it as a “special place.”

Donovan has an interesting history himself. His mother sang and played the guitar in coffee houses. She also taught Donovan a few chords.

This sparked a personal drive and desire to make a life in music, Donovan said.

According to his website, Donovan’s journey into music started off in punk bands in New Jersey.

However, music took him into a new direction and a new location. In 1998, Donovan moved to Madrid and traveled throughout West Ireland where he honed his skills as a hammered dulcimer player.

Focusing on Celtic music was somewhat a natural decision.

“It’s in the blood a little bit,” he said.

Donovan explained he has family members who originated from Cork, Ireland. In addition to the blood ties, Donovan said in Celtic music there is an “element of hearing it and getting drawn into it.”

Besides honing his skills as a Celtic musician, Donovan said his experiences abroad “opened my eyes. I think it is great to travel. It broadens your mind.”

He returned to the states in 2004. While he continues to perform Celtic music, Donovan said he has worked on electronic music.

However, at Fuller Lodge, Donovan said he will stick with acoustics.

“In a venue like Fuller Lodge, it feels more right to keep it natural,” he said. Life as an independent musician has its ups and downs.

“It’s in your hands and that is good and that is bad,” Donovan said.

He said he has the creative control but he also has the responsibility of promoting his music, booking concerts and funding releases.

While Donovan said it is sometimes enjoyable to handle these responsibilities, “What I most enjoy is picking up an instrument and remembering what I love about this.”

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