Friday, February 26, 2010

Peruvian duo mixes love and music

Performances resonate with Spanish-speaking residents

Express Staff Writer

Alejandro Rivas and Maria Laura Bustamante perform at Ciro wine bar in Ketchum. Photo by David N. Seelig

The Wood River Valley overflows with talented musicians. A new act on the scene, Peruvian duo Alejandro Rivas and Maria Laura Bustamante, have been gracing the valley's many stages in the past few months. Both 23, Rivas and Bustamante are Sun Valley Co. employees on student exchange visas.

"We took two months off to come to Sun Valley," Rivas said. "We work for Sun Valley Resort. It's a good job."

Rivas works in the commissary delivering beer and wine to restaurants at the resort. Bustamante works at the Brass Ranch retail store at the River Run base of Bald Mountain. When the two are not working, they are rehearsing, writing songs or performing. Both play guitar and sing, and Bustamante plays piano.

Back home, the couple studied at the Universidad Catolica del Peru in Lima. Rivas studied film and Bustamante studied performing arts. The two were friends before becoming a couple and performing together in Peru.

"I have been doing recordings and always writing songs and singing independently," Rivas said. "Maria Laura was in a jazz trio in Peru for three years and recorded an album in Lima."

Rivas said his music ranges from rock to classic and the couple balance each other, and they have good chemistry. Rivas was in a rock band called Los Winkerbeats in Lima.

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"Every time we play, people approach us and we make friends," Rivas said. "There's lots of appreciation for us."

The couple walked around town with a recording of their music and a guitar and played for everyone. They've been playing at the Ciro wine bar in Ketchum every Wednesday and played for a Crisis Hotline benefit event. Other Ketchum-area gigs include performances at Papa Hemi's restaurant, the Duchin Lounge and the Rinconcito Peruano restaurant.

Rivas said a woman was crying while listening to Maria Laura singing in Spanish at the Peruvian restaurant.

Rivas and Bustamante leave for Lima on March 15, but said they can come back if someone will hire them as musicians.

"It has been a growing experience as people," Bustamante said. "We found out we can do this as a profession. We have to work, and we know we have to make a living."

The couple said Sun Valley is a little dream town and are very grateful for their experience and the people they met. The duo will play the Sun Valley Duchin Lounge on Monday, March 1, from 4:30-8:30 p.m., Papa Hemi's Hideaway in Ketchum on Friday, March 5, from 6:30-9:30 p.m., and The Brickhouse in Bellevue on Friday, March 12. They play every Friday at the Rinconcito Peruano in Ketchum from 6-9 p.m.

Sabina Dana Plasse:

Download a sample song: "Tamatilo"

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