Rodrigo y Gabriela have reinvented the rules for acoustic guitar. They have reshaped its landscape using lightning speed, dynamic range and irresistible rhythmic invention. Constantly refining and redefining their craft, 2006 sees them rising to meet the challenge of taking their craft to a wider audience and greater artistic acclaim.
With the release of Rodrigo y Gabriela they are satisfied that they have managed to finally capture the raw excitement and energy of their live shows. Showing them as leaders in their field, gleefully blending and blurring musical genres in pursuit to their artistic vision a direct connection with the hearts and minds of the audience.
Mexico's liveliest pair of pluckers is back with a follow up to their successful 2003 debut Re-Foc. There seems to be a bit more of style, substance and everything else on the new record, and while there's evidence of influence from rock, flamenco, jazz and metal - and The Shadows - the duo now have a stronger signature sound.
Most of the songs are breathless, built on sublime reels up and down the frets and fast, Andalucian-style call and response. Perhaps it's relocating to Dublin that has made Rodrigo and Gabriel so free and easy with their own folk roots: they'll take on anything.
Two tracks feature fiery fiddler Roby Lakatos, who brings his Hungarian gypsy soul into the mix, while a version of Stairway to Heaven re-imagines the song as a quasi-medieval meditation. Virtuosity is everything on this disc, and Rod and Gab will continue to appeal as much to guitar students as folk music fans. They have a youthful energy that is infectious and a winning, fresh-faced style. A bonusDVD comes with this release, in which they give a guitar class -it's great fun, but get the ice ready for your fire-singed fingertips. --Chris Moss
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