Rodrigo y Gabriela refuse to string you along

I don't know the Spanish phrase for "Hot damn," but if I did it would go here.

I don't know the Spanish phrase for "Hot damn," but if I did it would go here.

They are rare, but some activities are simply above dissent. And like porn, you just know them when you experience them. Sometimes these things are obvious, like setting up camp on the couch and watching DVD after DVD when you are sick. Other engagements might lean towards the more unconventional side, and those usually involve diversions that I don’t want to hear or write about because what you do in your own bedroom is your own business, please don’t make it mine, you dig?

As far as music is concerned, I find it very hard not to enjoy classic flamenco guitar. Part of this is due to growing up in a house where the Gipsy Kings appeared on the stereo whenever my mom had some heavy cleaning or cooking undertaking. It makes sense now. Something about the crisp technical prowess necessary to hit all those chords, typically at a rapid pace that changes key signatures a couple times per song, is ideal for chores. The soundtrack encourages even the most menial task – swiping a rag, rinsing a plate – to feel fluid and sexy. These days, I still love the Gipsy Kings. But I’m terribly excited about 11:11, the latest album from Rodrigo y Gabriela, the contemporary duo that has picked up the Kings’ mantle.

If you’ve heard any of Rodrigo y Gabriela’s self-titled album from 2006, you probably understand. Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero are spectacular guitarists, their busy fingers flying from quiet melodies that sound intimate and tender to tracks that wrap you in their swagger and undeniable skill. The duo paid their dues when they originally joined a metal band together in their hometown of Mexico City, busked on Dublin’s streets, and covered “Stairway to Heaven” on their last full length. That’s some page-turning backstory right there.

And even though they weren’t obligated, as if to make up for their absence from the past three years, Rodrigo y Gabriela get straight to the point on 11:11, if one assumes the point is hip-popping music with intricate, varied rhythms. Quintero’s guitar works like a metronome without the monotony, and compliments Sanchez’s frenetic themes like champagne and orange juice (another item that falls into the beyond reproach category). The production on this album sounds extremely clean, which helps both guitars to stand out even more prominently as they cast their unpredictable and perpetually engaging spells. Try out “Atman,” which starts out softly and spirals into a flowing and wonderfully executed tribute to Dimebag Darrell. Yes, the guy from Pantera. The track features a solo from Testament guitarist, Alex Skolnick. And it will make you want to buy the whole album, once you polish off your mimosa.

Rodrigo y Gabriela will play at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall on Monday, October 12.

  • Rodrigo y Gabriela ~ 11:11 ~ ATO

Atman

And just because it is awesome, here’s the Gipsy Kings:

  • Gipsy Kings ~ Gipsy Kings ~ Elektra

“Bamboleo”

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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1 Response to “Rodrigo y Gabriela refuse to string you along”


  1. 1 Simon January 31, 2010 at 10:56 PM

    Love Rodgab – genius stuff thanks for posting this. Have you heard Andy Mckee – amazing guitar player – more fingerstyle but incredible stuff http://www.andymckee.com Also for guitar stuff Matt Stevens is good – more Rodgab spanish style – worth a listen http://www.mattstevensguitar.com or Erik Mongrain is amazing as well.

    S


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