Right, pin back your lugholes, listeners, because I’ve got a real treat for you this week. Set aside the next 45 minutes and press Play on this video of Rodrigo y Gabriela in Seattle, 11th May 2014. But, first, turn off the phone, send the wife out shopping, gag the kids and muzzle the mutt. You won’t want to be interrupted during this stunning performance.
I am ashamed to say that Rodrigo y Gabriela is a new name to me. The title track of their latest studio album, Mettavolution, infiltrated the airwaves at Crotchety Mansions only recently, and it was this that brought them to my attention.
Rodrigo Sánchez and Gabriela Quintero were 15 when they first met in Mexico City around 1989. They shared an interest in heavy metal music and soon became a couple. It seems, though, that they only started playing together when Gabriela joined Rodrigo’s metal band, Tierra Ácida, in 1993. When a record deal for the band fell through in 1997 they moved to the Pacific coast town of Ixtapa, playing in beach-side bars and hotels as Rodrigo y Gabriela. Limited opportunities in the domestic Mexican rock scene led them to move to Europe, settling in Dublin in 1999.
Over the next few years, interest in the band grew. They recorded a 9-track demo, Foc, in 2001, which was re-recorded in a professional studio and released as re-Foc the following year. There was a live album in 2004 and their second, eponymous studio album was released in 2006. That Rodrigo y Gabriela album included covers of Led Zeppelin‘s Stairway to Heaven and Metallica‘s Orion, and it rose to the number 1 spot in the Irish Albums Chart in February that year. Since then, the duo has released a further four studio albums (11:11, Area 52, 9 Dead Alive, Mettavolution) and added another two live albums (Live in Japan, Live in France).
Rodrigo and Gabriela both play acoustic guitars. Their style is best described, I think, as flamenco with rock and metal roots. It’s a unique combination that has earned them a performance for Barack Obama and a Grammy Award for Mettavolution. Their reputation is founded on live performances, like the one in this video which, thanks to the KEXP radio station, is available for no charge whenever we choose to watch it. If your friends complain that they couldn’t reach you on the phone or the kids gripe about being gagged for 45 minutes, send them the link – perhaps then they will understand that you had better things to do.