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Rodrigo y Gabriela will be supporting Will Young on his fourthcoming 22 date, Sold Out UK tour. Especially requsted by Will Young himself, this tour can only enhance the rapidly building profile of this excellent duo. Rodrigo y Gabriela arrived in Ireland from Mexico a couple of years ago and have since then built up a huge following bowling audiences over with their virtuoso guitar playing. On their debut album "Re-Foc" they are joined by a host of musicians including Zoe Conway on fiddle, Johnny Daly on double bass and Robbie Harris on percussion. Together they play a lively blend of jazz, world and folk.
To the unattuned ear, flamenco can seem jarring, discordant and depressing, an unnerving combination of guitar in staccato mode and voices given over to sudden spasms of passion.
As an upbeat, ultra-accessible alternative, Rodrigo and Gabriela play a melodious riff-based sound influenced by the lamentations of southern Spain but not restricted to - or really rooted in - them. Instead, they aim to entertain, delight and make feet tap. Like the music of virtuoso guitar giants José Feliciano and Paco de Lucia, this is picking for performance, with some impressive, impossibly fast fretwork and lots of mutual, competitive emoting. Their live show went down a storm at WOMAD this year and the hooks are as addictive as they are seductive -R&G appeal way beyond the usual World Music specialist circuit.
The Mexican-born duo has settled in Ireland, and enjoys there a faithful following as 'exotic' expat Latinos. A couple of tracks pay tribute to their new homeland and there's a Celtic bodhran on "Georges St/The Tartar Frigate", but most of the backing comes from bongo, shakers and cajón. It is neat and natty and all gels together seamlessly to the point of slickness.
But 'foc' is Catalan for fire (just to throw in another culture) and this album is more a home to gently heated numbers. It even manages to include the classic Paul Desmond jazz standard "Take 5"in order, perhaps, to please all. Evocative as it all is, it feels a bit like an Andalucian-tinted postcard and those accustomed to more searching sounds will be left wanting. There can, though, be no doubting the promise of this duo, and the Irish-Hispanic mix could be a heady source of future experiments - and no doubt some hits. --Chris Moss
Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window
Top Customer Reviews
I don't think that this album does justice to their staggering live perfomances, but I strongly recommend anyone buy it, (in particular if you are a guitarist yourself). It will be enough to convince you to see them live if you get the chance.
But every track deserves its place on this album, with the instrumentation and skill up to top knotch these Mexicans are truly blessed with fast fingers.
Of course half the compositons are based around Metallica's well balanced riffs, yet it's what the two guitarists take from that band to make their own is the key factor. I have heard Rodrigo and Gabriela play Wish You Were Here, Stairway to Heaven, One, Orion etc, yet how they turn these songs to their style is amazing.
Sangre y Ritmo is infected with superbly mixed chords, while Foc is their trademark track; featuring frenetic and fast guitar playing - described by the pair as "crazy."
Even if you listen to this album and say "It's too Spanish," give it another while to grow on you and make you realise that really, there is no genre available yet to describe the music. It isn't Spanish, it isn't flamenco, it isn't rock, it isn't jazz, it isn't post anything, and it hasn't been done before.
They also can't read muisc!
And I've seen them 4 times!
These two young people are simply stunning, and if you have ever suffered from the slightest amount of pain in your fingers, watch Gabriela's masterclass on youtube! It'll make you wince.
You will praise the day you bought this, as its music that really lifts the soul.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A bit samey if you know their CDs but still excellent music. I personally prefer their live recordings because of the atmosphere. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Harry
I love the vitality and exuberance of their music and this album is great. The cover of Take Five was stunning. Highly enjoyable.Published on 15 Mar. 2014 by Graeme Salisbury