Rodrigo y Gabriela

  • Artist: Rodrigo y Gabriela
  • Album: 9 Dead Alive
  • Country of Origin: Mexico
  • Released: 2014
  • Genre: Rock, Nuevo Flamenco
  • Available on: Spotify, Google Play, Pandora, Amazon, iTunes, YouTube
  • Recommendation by Ian Magnuson

Play this and I DARE you not to start tapping your feet. Would you believe that this is only two people playing two acoustic guitars? Mexican guitarist duo Rodrigo y Gabriela are amazing. I might not have believed their digital (read: fast fingered) prowess had I not seen this TED talk (yes I watch a lot of them) of the two of them alone on a stage. The duo mashes up a wide array of genres including jazz, metal (track Misty Moses has some very Metallica-y riffs), flamenco, rock, and whatever-the-hell “world music” means together to create a powerful auditory journey.

Rodrigo y Gabriela are both from Mexico City, Mexico and were exposed to this smorgasbord (I’ve never had the opportunity to spell that out before) of music while growing up. They met at a young age and I can only imagine that their incredible synergy is a product of this long relationship.  In 1999, they did what many of us might not do and moved to a new country not knowing any of the native language. Hanging out in Dublin, Ireland for ten years, they began to tour as Rodrigo y Gabriela after dabbling in a few smaller rock groups. They started to gain notoriety even in the USA after appearing on the Late Show in 2006 and their career has only soared since.

Their most recent album, “9 Dead Alive” is a tribute album with, according to Twitter “each track [being] a personal celebration of individuals who have passed on, but through their deeds and words still resonate in the 21st century.” Notably, Soundmaker, the song linked above is a tribute to the Spanish inventor of the modern guitar, Antonio de Torres Jurado. Other notables include American activist and freed slave, Harriet Tubman and Russian writer, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, perhaps defining “world music” for us.  

Recommended Tracks: The Soundmaker, Misty Moses, The Russian Messenger

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