Talented Musicians Make El Paso Proud!

By Paula Diaz

El Paso is the home to so many talented musicians. Bands, soloist, duos — people can find talented artists performing all kinds of music.
CityBeat Magazine asked six music group and soloists a bit about who they are and why they do what they do here in the Sun City.

Danielle Anaya
1. Classical guitarist soloist and owner of World on a String Studio.
2. She plays mostly classical music, which means classical guitar music from 1750-1820 and music written for the classical guitar from the 19th century to today. Her favorite is the music of Francisco Tarrega, a 19th century Spanish composer, and the music of later Latin American composers who were influenced by him, such as Agustin Barrios of Paraguay, Heitor Villalobos of Brazil and Leo Brouwer of Cuba.
3. She enjoys playing this kind of music because it is technically challenging, the process of bringing the sheets music to life and trying to convey the emotions and pictures the composer had in mind. More importantly, the music captivates one’s heart and mind instantly. She likes learning and playing popular styles of music, but the classical guitar masterpieces have a way of conveying the truth and beauty that exists in the world in such a unique way that she will never tire of hearing or playing them.
4. She has been studying music since 6 years old, and has been playing the guitar for almost 20 years. For as long as she can remember, she has desired playing the guitar. It is such a blessing to be able to fulfill that passion.
5. Danielle was extremely privileged to have studied with Adam Schydlower at Desert Moon Music Lessons in high school, and then under Professor John Siqueiros at UTEP’s Music Department. It was because of their excellent instruction that she was able to graduate summa cum laude with a degree in commercial music from UTEP, and have the tools to be an effective teacher herself. She has had opportunities to play in various events, such as the Jewel Box Series and the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction. She also plays the first Sunday of every month at The Grape Italian Steakhouse.
6. She released her first album, “Renaissance to Romantic: 3 Centuries of Guitar” in December 2016. It is a sampling of guitar repertoire (including lute and Baroque guitar music arranged for the modern-day guitar) from the 1600s to the 1800s. 7. Her ultimate goal is glorify God and enjoy Him in everything. In terms of my music, that means working hard every day to be the best she can be, so that she can share His beauty and truth with the people around her, whether it be through teaching or performing. In the next five years, Danielle would like to be established as a reliable resource for private music education, and she wants to be known as someone who is deeply invested in making the El Paso community a better place for us all through music.


Jaimielynn Amato
1. Is a soloist/songwriter known as the songbird of El Paso
2. She has been performing for more than a decade.
3. Through the years, she has performed at many venues throughout Texas as well as New Mexico. She has sung at music festivals and will be a featured artist for the El Paso Community Foundation’s Jewel Box Series on March 10, 2019.
4. She has recorded two albums in the past and is currently recording and producing a third.
5. Her goal is to influence other women to always speak there mind and share their stories through their art. As a musician, her goal is to never limit her abilities, creativity, and education.

Carlos Barba
1. Mainly a soloists, but he has also played with a trio.
2. Classically trained, he prefers jazz and many of its sub-genres. He fell in love with jazz because the genre calls for extensive improvisation and creativity and sensitivity to what other musicians are playing. No matter how many times you play the same song, it’ll be different every time.
3. He also is leader of the Carlos Barba Trio, a jazz trio made up of piano, bass, and drums that has been together on and off for about four years with a few different members. He also has performed in others groups such as the El Paso Jazz Collective, J.P. Macias Organ Trio, and Speak No Evil. As a professional musician, he finds himself working with a variety of musicians, bands, and styles in order to make a living.
4. He has unlimited success by performing in the El Paso, Las Cruces, and Cd. Juarez areas in a variety of venues such as restaurants, nightclubs or recital halls. He has played in a few jazz festivals such as Festival de Jazz Jalisco 2017, Festival Internacional de Jazz en la Frontera 2016 & 2017, Mesilla Jazz Happening 2018 and Festival International Chihuahua 2017. Barba recently performed with the UTEP Dance Company in their annual show at the UTEP Wise Family Theater. He arranged music and performed with ballet dancers under the direction of Lisa Smith.
5. He has three compact discs under the trio project and has put out at least one album per year. He has had four CD’s as a leader, one as a sideman (under someone else’s name and directing) and he has been featured on a few tracks on other people’s bands or projects. The CD titles include “Carlos Barba Trio – Soundcolour 2016,” “Carlos Barba Trio – Lightyears 2016,” “Carlos Barba Trio – Afterlife 2017,” “Gabriel Balderas Quartet – Voices From the Border 2017” and
“Carlos Barba – Duos 2018.”
6. He is hoping to get his doctorate in jazz performance and teach at a renowned university or conservatory. He will always perform, compose, arrange and record, but the goal is to do everything in larger scale, with better musicians, venues and studios.

Marilyn Castillo
1. Guitarist and singer
2. She was the first student at UTEP to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Commercial Music with a focus in voice.
3. She has participated in the “Festival Internacional JAZZUV” at the University of Veracruz, México both as a guest artist and as a translator for master classes of people like Grace Kelly, Gretchen Parlato. She also has played international musicians like Osmany Paredes and Jason Palmer. In New York City, she took voice study with flamenco singer Ismael de la Rosa and with Ilana Martin. She has shared the stage with artists like Bobby Cruz, Richie Ray, Arturo Ortíz and Grammy winner Flor de Toloache. She joined the New York Mariachi Academy as a voice teacher and also teaches Spanish through music to children through El Taller Latinoamericano. Currently, she is the lead singer and song writer of Adderesound, a Mexican fusion band she initiated in México in 2011 with her partner in crime, bass player and composer Rudyck Vidal and whose second album is now being produced in New York.
4. Marilyn’s love for singing and song writing led her to create a project of her own where her lyrics come up to life with beautiful arrangements by Vidal. She is also currently working on her first solo album “Chicana en Nueva York” from where it’s first single, “Todavía” premiered in October 2018.

Christina Gurrola
1. Predominantly a soloist, she also plays with numerous musicians and loves improvising with them.
2. She plays predominantly originals. Songwriting is her strongest form of expression. She feels fortunate to get hired to play her original music, which she is incredibly grateful for.
3. She has been a singer on and off since 2011 as a soloist, with bands or in jazz combos.
4. For Christina, success equates to positive triumphs no matter how tiny/grandeur. Getting her first EP out in 2015 was a giant success. Another triumph for her has been learning from other musicians. El Paso jazz legend Billy Townes has become a mentor and one of her best friends. She has had the opportunity to play gigs in New Zealand. While in Australia, she met Irish troubadour Marty Kelly. They played a few times at hole-in-the-wall pubs, but the energy was glorious. She wrote songs regularly with Manuel Calderon and had the chance work at Sonic Ranch as a background singer and writer on several occasions.
5. She is happy to have an opportunity to create work now, with a new appreciation for time and life.

I-artifact and Hunhau Mitnal Bands

1. I-artifact has five members and Hunhau Mitnal has four members.
3. I-artifact plays progressive groove music and Hunhau Mitnal plays black metal.
4. I-artifact has been together for five years and Hunhau Mitnal members got together a year ago.
5. For I-artifact, there has been plenty of success. The band has been on three tours in the United States and Mexico. Hunhau Mitnal is currently working on studio project, but it has received positive feedback online.
6. Both bands have created an album.
7. Both bands, who have similar members, want to tour the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *