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Home | Lifestyle | Sounds of The Desert: Cuyo Garibay

Sounds of The Desert: Cuyo Garibay

Last weekend I was in the San Elizario Historic District at Placita Madrid, working on a Valentine’s related story, when I was swept away by the captivating strings of the guitar and I was immediately lost in a melodic trance.

I thought it had to be a CD or someone’s iPhone playlist, as I walked closer to the sound, I found it was not a playlist but in fact it as an actual artist, professional musician Cuyo Garibay.

I listened for a good, long while before I approached him for a brief interview. He played that fanciful whimsy sound in the style of Gypsy Kings, then other songs were more in the soft classical style of strings, but by far my favorite was when he played songs in the style similar to the intense guitar riffs of Carlos Santana and such.

Guitarist have always amazed my with their skill and how connected they are to their instrument, it is like an extension of their own arm.

After about 40 minutes, Cuyo took a coffee break and we sat down to chat. It turns out he is no stranger to the Sun City. Cuyo used to be part of the duo Taber & Garibay, they even shot one of their first videos here in El Paso, titled “Fisherman’s Daughter ” (featuring Karla Martinez of Despierta America who also started her career here in El Paso).

Garibay has now been a solo artist for the last 10 years and has toured and played in every high end hotel across the United States, he has performed for heads of state like George W. Bush, and has even opened for icons, such as the legendary David Bowie.

It could be said Arturo ‘Cuyo’ Garibay was born into this business. His father Cuyo Garibay was a musician and composer, who wrote two hits “A Manos Llenas” and “La Inflación” for Los Tigres Del Norte (one of the greatest Norteño groups of ALL TIME – in my opinion.)

Arturo caught the artist bug, grabbed his first guitar at age 12 and has never let go. After his father passed Cuyo decided to take on his father’s name and change his name professionally in his honor and thus, continuing his legacy.

His latest album Gifts of Angles was inspired by loss in his life. His brother, George Garibay also a musician, bassist, passed away but contributed to this album. A friend and fellow musician, violinist Alan McChesney who also passed, also served as inspiration.

Art gallery owner, artist Hal Marcus, was once part of a band with Adam Schydlower and Alan McChesney, Jitano & The Desert Prophets ; Cuyo recalled how they used to have jam sessions out on the UTEP campus when they were all up and coming.

It was during this time of solace and loss that Garibay says, the songs seemed to come to him, as if they were “gifts” from the Angels in his life.

Now knowing the back story on this album you can see the imprint of El Paso everywhere within it, there is even a song named after Kern Place.

Garibay has made the Sun City his home for almost 20 years now – along with his wife, family, kids, and grandkids – but is still active stays on the music circuit.

If you love music and want to enjoy live performance of a true guitar genius, then head over to Tabla on Durango Street, you will find the brilliant Cuyo Garibay there every Saturday starting at 7pm.

About Yolitzma Aguirre

A little about me, I am a proud El Paso, TX native. I have built my career working in national media and both – national and Texas – politics. Most recently, I was selected as one of only a handful of Latina writers (chosen from across the nation) to participate in a storytellers cohort as part of the Yale School of Journalism. I love traveling throughout Texas, finding those interesting stories that are hidden in everyday conversation. I write about people, pop culture, politics and my Texas Latina life; proudly walking through the world with El Paso “nopal-colored glasses” on.

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