Rodrigo Y Gabriela

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Rodrigo Y Gabriela Biography

Rodrigo (Sanchez) and Gabriela (Quintero) are two fast-fingered, Dublin-based, Mexicans with a unique sound created on acoustic guitars. Their music is difficult to define, straddling both world and rock, and often imbued with timeless Hispano - classical influences. The fire in it comes from their life-long passion for metal music. This spring, "Rodrigo y Gabriela," beat both the Arctic Monkeys AND Johnny Cash to number one in the Irish charts.

Rodrigo is a deft finger-picker who can move from raging speed to sensual soul in the space of a fret, while Gabriela employs fast, rhythmic techniques. Her percussionist's thrashing of strings and drumming of the instrument's body inevitably raises comparisons with flamenco - which they acknowledge as an influence but swerve as a pigeonhole. The duo's repertoire flies beyond familiar Latin folk guitarists' styles because of the metal connection: their reworkings of Led Zep's "Stairway to Heaven" and Metallica's "Orion" are musts, and the presence, on "Ixtapa", of the fiery Hungarian gypsy violinist, Roby Lakatos, is inspirational.

Rodrigo and Gabriela met as teenagers, at the Casa de Cultura (Culture House), in Mexico City, where Rodrigo's brother was Director. Rodrigo was playing drums in his band Castlow - a code word he never revealed to Gabriela, and changed to Tierra Acida (Acid Earth) when she joined them on guitar. The couple drifted together through music; teenaged metal fanatics who both failed entrance to the Conservatory and moved into rock. Before joining Tierra Acida, Gabriela ran three girls' bands, Las Brujas (The Witches), Subterraneo and Las Formigas (The Ants) at once: Terra Acida had a disciplined work ethic: "It was mental!" she recalls, "we rehearsed five hours a day, every day, with very short breaks, and not much talking!"

Tierra Acida played in Mexico City's roughest clubs and lived off day-jobs (Gabriela taught Metallica riffs to local kids; Rodrigo at a TV station, doing music for programmes). They recorded an album but wouldn't sign the record contract, planning instead to concentrate on learning more guitar styles. In fact, they just hung out with friends and survived by playing bossa novas in the hotel bars. "Then we decided to travel to Europe".

Their first port of call was Dublin, Ireland. "It was the most unknown place to us", explains Gabriela, the talkative one. "Also, a Mexican girl offered us her house there." They landed in Dublin at night, spoke no English, and had $1,000 between them. They found a note on the door saying actually, sorry, but they couldn't stay there after all, so the taxi driver drove them round hostels and hotels all night. Eventually they rented a place - and soon the money disappeared: "So - we had to busk".

That was 1999: "We were very exotic specimens!" They built a reputation and landed gigs in people's homes, at wedding parties and gallery openings, playing covers and their own compositions, "We still wanted to be metal composers, but everything came out as Latin!"

Dublin was booming then, with new music venues and galleries and a thriving rock scene, and the two Mexicans jammed with local folk musicians in the bars. In winter, they moved to Denmark and started again - this time busking at minus three degrees! The brief Copenhagen experience inspired two numbers on this album, "Diablo Rojo", a scary roller-coaster ride in the city, and "Viking Man", their nickname for a homeless man they befriended, who pushed them into busking on the freezing streets.

Next, they hit Barcelona, but this time, the club owners assumed they played Mariachi, and wouldn't let them play in their own unique style, so Rod & Gab ended up jamming on Barca's main drag Las Ramblas getting heavy duty hassle from the Catalan cops. Just in time, a call came from Ireland to come back and play the newly opened Sugar Club. Damian Rice, then a busking friend, invited them to support his shows, and in 2003, they released "Re-Foc", and a year later, "Live Manchester and Dublin," which both launched them onto the World Music circuit - and beyond.

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Rodrigo Y Gabriela Picture Gallery

rodrigo y gabriela the north sea jazz festival - da
rodrigo y gabriela the north sea jazz festival - da
rodrigo y gabriela the north sea jazz festival - da
rodrigo y gabriela the north sea jazz festival - da
rodrigo y gabriela the north sea jazz festival - da

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The Latest Rodrigo Y Gabriela News

Pitbull Joins Dawson's Cause To Mobilise Latin Voters

25th March 2012

Rapper Pitbull and Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo Y Gabriela are lending their support to actress Rosario Dawson's efforts to encourage...

Wilderness Festival 2012: Wilco And Rodrigo Y Gabriela Announced In Initial Line Up

8th March 2012

Wilderness Festival recently announced the initial line up for this year's event, which will take place 10-12th August 2012 at...

Big Chill Festival Cancelled

19th January 2012

The 2012 Big Chill festival has been cancelled.Organisers of the annual event have struggled to book artists to perform because...

Trujillo Jams With Rodrigo Y Gabriela

19th October 2009

Fans of Mexican guitar duo RODRIGO Y GABRIELA were given a shock on Friday (16Oct09), when METALLICA guitarist ROBERT TRUJILLO...

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Rodrigo Y Gabriela Reviews

Rodrigo y Gabriela - Live in France Album Review

6th September 2011

I've been playing the guitar for nearly ten years now. When I started out, I...

Rodrigo y Gabriela - 11:11 Album Review

21st September 2009

Review of Rodrigo y Gabriela's album 11:11Rodrigo y Gabriela return with 11:11, an interesting concept...

Rodrigo y Gabriela - Live In Japan Album Review

13th November 2008

Review for Rodrigo Y Gabriela's album 'Live In Japan'.Rodrigo y Gabriela are two very talented...

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Rodrigo Y Gabriela Festivals

Fuji Rock Festival

30th July 2010


12th June 2014


1st August 2014

V Festival

16th August 2014

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The Latest Rodrigo Y Gabriela Press Releases

Rodrigo Y Gabriela Announce New Single 'The Soundmaker' Out April 28th 2014

20th February 2014

Acoustic rock maestros Rodrigo y Gabriela are back with their new album:...

Rodrigo Y Gabriela Announce New Album '9 Dead Alive' Released 28th April 2014

17th January 2014

Acoustic rock maestros Rodrigo y Gabriela are back with their new album: 9 Dead...

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