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Texas Gypsies To Play in Placitas

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Texas-based guitarist Kim Platko has been back to the Albuquerque area many times to visit family.

But this weekend marks the first time that the former Albuquerque resident has returned to perform in his former hometown. Platko attended Sandia High School before moving in 1969 with his family to Richardson, Texas, where he still resides.

Platko will be in concert Sunday in Placitas as a member of the band the Texas Gypsies. The concert at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church is part of the Placitas Artists Series.

If you go
WHAT: Texas Gypsies
WHEN: 3 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Las Placitas Presbyterian Church, Placitas. The church is located six miles east of Interstate 25 on N.M. 165
HOW MUCH: $20 general public in advance at, at La Bonne Vie Salon and Day Spa in Homestead Village Shopping Center in Placitas or at Ah! Capelli Salon & Color Studio in Enchanted Hills Plaza, Rio Rancho. At the door prices are $20 general public, $15 students

Steve Curry, the band’s founding guitarist-vocalist, said the Texas Gypsies came together when a bunch of musicians decided they wanted to jam.

“I was trying to learn to play Django (Reinhardt). I wanted to jam on it. Another guy came from a Western swing background. They kept coming over to my house,” Curry said in a phone interview.

“Someone said, ‘Want to be in a band?’ It took off because nobody was doing this in this area. So it just kind of happened.”

He was referring to the metro Dallas-Fort Worth area.

That was 2004. Seven years later, the band continues to play a potpourri of gypsy jazz, Western swing and Curry’s originals.

The Texas Gypsies have also recorded three albums, including a holiday music CD, had one of its songs, “Maxwell Swing,” in the soundtrack of the Billy Bob Thornton movie “The Smell of Success,” and won the 2009 Academy of Western Artists’ Best Swing Band award.

Curry said the band is a full-time job for him as musician, manager and record producer.

“We do have agents, but I handle some of the business stuff. I do the travel arrangements, I arrange for corporate and other private events, and concerts like the one in New Mexico,” he said.

Performing with Curry and Platko are violinist Mark Menikos and bassist-vocalist John Hewitt.

“We’re not setting out to be in the ‘hot club’ style,” Curry said. “We’ve written music that borrows from that style and from Western swing and we’re playing contemporary stuff to mix the sound of old and new.”

For the Placitas concert, he said, the band will also play some tunes from its holiday album.

At 2 p.m. Sunday, one hour before the concert, there will be a reception for five artists, whose work will be exhibited in the church.

The artists are:

n Barb Belknap is a stained-glass artist and owner of Placitas Art Glass. This year she was picked by the New Mexico Committee for Women in the Arts and the Center for Contemporary Arts as one of 130 outstanding New Mexico women artists to show in the fine arts exhibit “18 Days” at the Muñoz Waxman Gallery in Santa Fe.

n Diana Martin sculpts beaded jewelry and creates other crafts, including macramé, weaving, basketry and fiber sculpture. Her work has been exhibited at Albuquerque’s Mariposa Gallery and Pismo Glass Gallery in Denver.

n Laura Robbins creates non-traditional mosaics, many of which have cut and fused glass with hand-formed ceramics. She has done commissions for Sandia Prep and Acción New Mexico and is a leader-artist in the Placitas community mosaic mural “Protect Our Wildlife Corridors.”

n Susan Reid, who paints with acrylic, has been represented since 2006 by Matrix Fine Art in Albuquerque and has had two solo shows there.

n Judith Roderick, who creates silk paintings and silk quilts. Her current subjects are cranes and other birds, flora and fauna.