Groove Tunes

Monday, 23 May 2011

Rodrigo y Gabriela - self titled

Rodrigo and Gabriela are two guitarists from Mexico who started out playing thrash metal but got bored and moved to Europe. While in Europe they decided to start busking and touring, except they dropped the metal and started to play something entirely different. Something one hundred percent acoustic. Their style is extremely varied but unmistakeably Latin yet thrashy, jazzy, and even Middle Eastern at times. Sounds intriguing? It is!

There is no question that these two guitarists are virtuosos, the playing is ferocious, incredibly fast and sometimes aggressive but it is perfect and extremely complex at all times. They often play without a plectrum in the typical flamenco styles, somehow playing complicated finger-picked melodies at the same time as playing percussion by slaps and punches against the guitar body, but it's not like much flamenco that you will have ever heard. You can tell that they the thrash metal experience and background when you hear how tight, precise and fast the playing is; it really does sound like what it is – two thrash metal guitarists from Mexico playing acoustic guitars but somehow you can't prepare for this for really imagine what it sounds like.

Their self titled album isn't their first one but it is extremely ambitious, boasting not only a cover of Orion by Metallica but also something completely sacrilegious to some people; Stairway To Heaven.

The former fades in with the recognizable riff being played along with the acoustic being slapped to make the rhythm, which is all reasonably unassuming at first but the structure and playing slowly builds up to an impressive pace. The solo is just beautiful, very well played on a lovely sounding guitar ringing with reverb but there is also the insanely complex rhythm playing behind. This track is actually quite slow for the duo but it doesn't need to any faster. I'm not sure what Metallica fans would make of it but I think this does the original justice.

And then there is Stairway To Heaven. You may think it's quite brave to attempt covering this, and it is, but when you hear this you will understand that they are justified in doing so, this isn't just another cover. Their version totals 4min 44secs and somehow they seem to cram the whole song in. Of course, they do drop out a few of the verses (being an instrumental it would be unnecessary to have too many) but all the important parts are included.

You can tell from the first few bars that this is going to be a bit different with the Latinized introduction littered with little lines of improvisation. This goes on for nearly a third of the song but it's not too much, at all. The verse is sheer brilliance, the two guitars sounding heavenly.

The solo quickly comes around and you won't be disappointed, if you're expecting it to be a bit lame because it is played on an acoustic guitar, you would be wrong. Impressive isn't the word. It's difficult to put in to words what they do, so just go and listen to it. I will say though that this isn't even the best song on the album.

This is such an amazing album, even if you're not particularly enthralled by this style of music, I can't imagine that you would unimpressed by the talent of Rodrigo and Gabriela. Anyone who has ever played a guitar will be able to appreciate the brilliance. Certainly different but not one to miss.


Nice interpretation, I like despite the fact it's not my favorite style.

That's an interesting path they took to get where they are :)

they do a magnificent rendition of Oogie Boogie's theme from Nightmare Before Christmas. You should definitely check it out!

i always wanted to pick the bands for a talkshow so bad

I'm definatly going to buy their album =)

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