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Infusion Of Metal And Latin: Rodrigo Y Gabriela

The Latin guitar duo will play at 4th and B this Saturday, October 9.

Above: Rodrigo y Gabriela are musicians from Mexico City that moved to Dublin to create classical guitar music infused with metal rock.

My friends and I are so thrilled to see Rodrigo y Gabriela this Saturday that we decided to host a pre-show tapas party. (Never mind that tapas come from Spain and Rodrigo y Gabriela are from Mexico City — these are but small details.)

We only have one problem: Not one of us has a single clue what kind of tapas to make. While researching a recipe online, I found out just how diverse and varied the techniques and ingredients for tapas can be, just like the dynamic, hybrid sounds of Rodrigo y Gabriela. If I had to cook up a recipe to describe the music of this guitar duo, it might look something like this:

Marinate Carlos Santana then lightly brush with Jimmy Hendrix
Finely chop Metallica into tiny pieces and gently mix in Paco De Lucia.
Boil Pink Floyd on high heat until tender but still firm to the bite.
Slowly fold in Jorge Reyes.
Place ingredients in a large cast iron skillet.
Simmer on low.

Their music is a mixture of metal and Latin, bringing amazing new sounds out of classical guitars. The two met when they were just 14-years-old, playing in a metal rock band in Mexico City.

“We’ve been through so many things over the last 10 to 15 years now,” Rodrigo said about being with Gabriela on and off for the past 25 years. “Musically we have the same goals and ideas, there’s no more of the kind of fights we use to have when we were in the metal bands. We respect each other.”

Gabriela pounds on the body of the guitar adding percussion to the duo classical guitar music.

Above: Gabriela pounds on the body of the guitar adding percussion to the duo classical guitar music.

The two left Mexico for Dublin and they have been making music together ever since.

“When we left for Europe, we didn’t even want to have a record deal, we just wanted to travel around and play music whenever we had a chance to do so,” Rodrigo said. “We don’t think what we do in life defines who we are. The lifestyle we have right now is nice, but it’s not as important to us as getting in touch with ourselves through the music.”

He said the biggest challenge with the type of music they make is getting new sounds from two acoustic guitars. “We’re trying to sound like a whole band with just two people — that’s the challenge,” he said.

The fast, rhythmic beats, which Gabriella produces with her right hand on the side of the guitar, adds percussion to the intricate guitar music.

Their new album, “11:11” is named after 11 artists who have inspired them and their music. The duo will be playing the entire album at their concert Saturday at 4th and B.

"Chac Mool,” a song on the new album, is a tribute to Jorge Reyes, a musician Rodrigo saw perform several times as a child.

“It was pretty intense because he was underground,” Rodrigo said. “He had all these Aztec dancers, and it was really impressive.” Chac Mool is a figurine from ancient pre-Mayan culture. It is a depiction of a man laying down on the ground looking up to the sky with a tray on his belly. “No one really knows what it means,” Rodrigo said.

Rodrigo said fans who have seen the duo play before will have something new in store for them at the concert Saturday.

“We’re having a lot of surprises so that people who have seen us before can be a little bit surprised,” Rodrigo said.

Surprising as the music of Rodrigo y Gabriela may be, the real shocker of the evening will be if I don’t burn the tapas to a charcoal, black crisp before the show. As for the concert, I expect we all will be pleasantly startled by their remarkable infusion of sounds.

Video

Rodrigo y Gabriela Perform Live

Above: Rodrigo y Gabriela perform live on David Letterman.

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