Gio Murillo

"I am proud to be able to express myself musically," declares the exuberant guitarist and vocalist Gio Murillo. "I am proud that through music I capture the world's message of life and live it as much as I can." Living it, he is. The native Venezuelan now calls Rhode Island home and, along with his bandmates in the Latin-flavored Santa Mamba, has cultivated an enthusiastic fan base in the Northeast.

Love for the guitar came early for Gio, who was only seven when he began taking lessons on a classical guitar he borrowed from his brother. Songwriting soon followed. He says he penned his first composition at 14 for a folk festival contest.

These days, Gio plays guitar, mandolin, cuatro (a four-stringed Venezuelan relative of the guitar) and drums.

When he saw Luna's distinctive Henna acoustic/electric guitar, Gio felt the call of the instrument's alluring personality. "Each Luna guitar is unique," he says, "and has its own identity. I personally found that I identify with the Henna. And our fans love it!" Expressing his genuine Latin love for the Henna and its front-and-back design, Gio says that "the built-in tuner is one of my favorite features. Also, the mother-of-pearl on the head of the guitar is pure art!"

Santa Mamba drummer and co-founder Ajay Coletta offers what might be called both a description of the band's sound and a brief history of its evolution: "We started out with a world beat, then progressed more into various jazz styles. We found that the Latin music we were playing became a good blend with jazz, so we wrote more music, and our fans responded to our new style. It wasn't long before we added rock and funk to the mix, and found the combination was very successful." With musical influences as varied as the Beatles, Queen, Jimi Hendrix and Red Hot Chili Peppers, it's small wonder that Gio brings a world of diverse talent to a band that combines the best of many genres.

"Music and writing is part of everything I do and will always be," Gio declares. His philosophy? "Try it, enjoy it and believe it!"

Luna is pleased to call Gio Murillo a Luna Artist.

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