Rodrigo y Gabriela
(Rodrigo and Gabriela) is a Mexican musical duo who specialize in playing fast, rhythmic acoustic guitars.The musicians gained a reputation by playing on the streets of Dublin, Ireland and gained a cult following. Reviewing one of their gigs, The Independent
notes that "Rodrigo y Gabriela's secret is maybe quite simple. They are resourceful musicians, and are open-hearted, happy entertainers. That, very often, is what people want." Both live a vegan lifestyle and support animal rights. They regularly dismiss being classified in a particular genre of music, preferring to say they play a fusion of many influences.Rodrigo y Gabriela have sold in excess of 1.2 million albums. In 2011 they collaborated with Hans Zimmer on the Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
soundtrack while also contributing to the soundtrack for the Shrek
prequel Puss in Boots
.Both Rodrigo and Gabriela play Yamaha NX series electro nylon string guitars exclusively. Rodrigo plays the slimmer neck NTX1200 and Gabriela plays the more traditional sized NCX2000 and NCX1200.
Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero grew up in middle-class families in Mexico City. Their parents listened to flamenco, jazz, and rock music but they were both exposed to heavy metal rock music like Metallica, were inspired by it, and played in this genre.Rodrigo and Gabriela met as teenagers, at the Casa de Cultura (House of Culture) in Mexico City, where Rodrigo’s brother was Director.In the early 1990s, Sanchez formed a heavy metal band called Tierra Acida ("Acid Land") with his brother. Quintero joined them in 1993. When a record deal for the band fell through in 1997, Sanchez and Quintero left Mexico City for the resort town of Ixtapa on the Pacific coast of Mexico. They played in beach side bars and practiced for long hours.
Growing frustrated with the limited scope of the domestic Mexican music scene, they moved to Europe, where they were well received. They took up residence in Dublin, Ireland, after hearing it was particularly welcoming to traveling musicians. Playing live gigs in various pubs and busking on Grafton Street allowed them to practice their sound. They received their break by opening for artists like Damien Rice and David Gray. In 2002 they released a demo called re-Foc and started touring extensively in festivals around the United Kingdom and beyond.The self-titled album, Rodrigo y Gabriela,
entered the Irish Albums Chart at #1 beating Arctic Monkeys and Johnny Cash to the top spot. It was released internationally on March 13, 2006, having been given an earlier Irish release. Rodrigo y Gabriela,
which was produced by John Leckie, includes covers of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" and Metallica's "Orion." The duo lists Metallica as being among their key influences, alongside other heavy metal bands such as Megadeth, Slayer, Testament and Overkill. The other tracks are original works inspired by the places they have been and the people they have met.The duo had their national American TV debut on Late Show with David Letterman on December 18 2006, performing Diablo Rojo.Their song Tamacun featured in the pilot episode of AMC's Breaking Bad in January 2008.Live in Japan
was released on October 20, 2008 (UK), and includes 14 tracks, and a bonus DVD containing five videos. The Led Zeppelin cover can be found on the album Rhythms del Mundo Classics.
Their feature on MTV gave them a huge boost in popularity in the United States. This led to a feature on Nightmare Revisited,
a tribute album to the music from Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas.
The duo perform an instrumental version of "Oogie Boogie's Song."They released a new album, 11:11,
in September, 2009. Alex Skolnick of Testament guests on the album, as do Strunz & Farah. Upon the release of the new album, they received much mainstream American popularity and were the featured music on Monday Night Football
on October 12, 2009, as they celebrated Latino Heritage Month.Their song Santo Domingo
was chosen as the Starbucks iTunes Pick of the Week for November 10, 2009.The duo was the musical guest on "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" that aired on CBS-TV on October 28, 2009, and was re-run on December 29, 2009. They performed "Buster Voodoo." They performed on Jools Holland's Annual Hootenanny on December 31, 2009.The duo was the musical guest on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" that aired on NBC on March 23, 2010 to promote their album "11:11" and on "Lopez Tonight" which aired on TBS March 25, 2010In May 2010, Rodrigo y Gabriela performed at The White House for the U.S. President Barack Obama.They headlined the West Holts stage on the Sunday night at Glastonbury 2010 and played the King Tuts Tent at T In The Park on 10 July 2010. They also had a spot on the main stage at Latitude festival that same July and they managed to draw in a huge crowd.In 2010, Rodrigo y Gabriela contributed a live version of their song "Hora Zero" to the Enough Project and Downtown Records' Raise Hope for Congo compilation. Proceeds from the compilation fund efforts to make the protection and empowerment of Congo’s women a priority, as well as inspire individuals around the world to raise their voice for peace in the Congo.They played the Nice Jazz Festival on 23 July 2010, and the Mcmenamin's Edgefield outdoor concert in Portland, Oregon on August 14, 2010, as well as the Ravinia Festival on August 28, 2010, and on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
on September 30, 2010.In September, 2010, the duo announced a hiatus from touring due to stress injuries caused by Gabriela's heavily percussive style of playing. However, they did manage to play five sold-out nights at Shepherds Bush in London.On January 20, 2011, Rodrigo y Gabriela entered the studio with Hans Zimmer to write and record sessions of the score from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
The soundtrack was released on May 17, 2011, three days before the film's general release.On July 9, 2011, Rodrigo Y Gabriela performed a live set for "Guitar Center Sessions" on DirecTV. The episode included an interview with program host, Nic Harcourt. On July 25, 2011, Rodrigo y Gabriela released another live album entitled Live in France
.Rodrigo y Gabriela were featured in the 2011 DreamWorks film Puss in Boots
, scored by Henry Jackman.During 2011, Rodrigo y Gabriela recorded in Havana, Cuba, with C.U.B.A., a 13-piece Cuban orchestra, and special guest musicians (Anoushka Shankar on sitar and Le Trio Joubran on oud).In January 2012 they released Area 52
, their first album backed by other musicians. The tracks on the album are mostly re-worked versions of songs that have appeared on their duo albums, Rodrigo y Gabriela
. Reviews were mixed, with some tracks criticised for the backing band drowning out the guitar work that fans love but others praised where the guitar workouts "are allowed space to breathe by lighter salsa-style backing."