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Metal - Released September 27, 2002 | Rubyworks

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Metal - Released January 1, 2004 | Rubyworks

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Metal - Released October 2, 2005 | Rubyworks

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Metal - Released October 3, 2006 | Rubyworks

While Rodrigo y Gabriela's self-titled third album is an utter and complete joy to listen to -- actually, it's more of a riotous celebration -- it's more than difficult to describe exactly what they do. This Mexican guitar duo met while in a heavy metal outfit together and soon found the local scene wanting. Both had roots in flamenco and other folk and rock music; they dropped the electric guitars -- and bandmates -- to travel light. They headed off to Europe, and ended up busking in Ireland, where their renown spread as instrumentalists who had to be seen to be believed. They re-recorded an album, toured the U.K. with everyone from David Gray to the Buena Vista Social Club, and then cut a live disc in Dublin and Manchester. That was the story until they hooked up with producer John Leckie. He was able to help them record a studio album that captured the sheer orgiastic excitement of their live gigs, hence this self-titled puppy that debuted in the Irish charts at number one. Uh-huh. It's true that Ireland's not a big place, but when, when, have you ever heard of an instrumental recording by a Mexican duo hitting the number one spot in such a place? What's more, the disc has a buzz on Yank shores as well and with good reason. These nine cuts have nothing to do with nuevo flamenco or any of that new agey stuff: this is smoke and fire music, it burns across genres and traditions like a demented passion spirit that takes no prisoners -- and we can thank the gods for heavy metal in this instance at least. This set slashes like a stiletto; it's fine and precise; it leaves no scars. The dynamic range of this music is startling. It is both ancient and futuristic, carnally frenetic and romantically seductive, artfully -- and even spiritually -- played yet drenched in the vulgarity of street life. It is the work of two young masters who are still striving to learn and incorporate more without sacrificing beauty, pathos, and tradition. On "Ixtapa" they utilize rock & roll dynamics to perform a song about the place they decided to flee from Mexico City to before leaving for Europe. Roby Lakatos, the incredible violinist, joins the duo here (he's a fan and offered his services). Take in "Diablo Rojo," or "Satori," where metal chops, flamenco, and tango music become entwined in a musical ménage à trois. There are no gimmicks in this music, it's exactly what you hear in the immediate present that somehow comes out of the Latin historical past, is infected by rock & roll and forwards the secret histories of both. Informed by this, listen closely to the pair's covers of Metallica's "Orion" and, more importantly, the song that would be easiest to dismiss -- a reading of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" that takes the appropriate liberties and makes them both sound fresh and new. In encountering this record, all doubt and cynicism should removed; what is happening here is that the canon for the acoustic, classical guitar is being rewritten. This music is the sound of passion as interpreted by and spoken for in a new rock & roll language. [Initial copies of the CD also come with an enclosed DVD so you can see the magic as well as hear it.] © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Metal - Released July 24, 2006 | Rubyworks

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Metal - Released October 20, 2008 | Rubyworks

Mexico City's Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero must think highly of themselves as talented instrumental musicians who like to jam fast, show off quite a bit, and cater to the baser instincts of an image conscious and viscerally driven rock type audience, even in Japan. When you get past the ego driven music presented here in what must be an atypical (for them) large concert hall engagement, you can easily hear two extremely talented musicians playing to a crowd, the patrons enthusiastically responding, and everyone enjoying themselves for an escapist hour. Having said that, Rodrigo y Gabriela are impressive musicians, barely losing a beat or fluffing fretted single-line runs, percussive chords, and occasionally amplified and effects driven inserts. Their single intent is to blow you away with their virtuosic licks and riffs, and they generally succeed. One noticeable aspect of this concert is that the guitarists stop frequently during songs, as if they are gathering themselves for the next salvo while their fans go wild -- the plant...run approach. Flamenco or jazz purists likely will see through the haze of trumped up tunes, as actual improvisation, intimacy, or subtleties are avoided except in select instances. Copping licks from rock tunes, Jimi Hendrix, and a trimmed version of "Stairway to Heaven" emphasizes this point. Still there are redeeming original moments in concept, as "O.K. Tokyo" eschews a funky blues mood, the 6/8 modal "Satori" is lower key and sweeter with stairstep progressions, "Vikingman" is closest to traditional flamenco by degrees with some neat interplay, and their flash point is muted during "One" with patient constructs, pronounced musicality and better harmonics. A version of Dave Brubeck's "Take Five" sounds rushed tempo wise, but is understated, not brash, despite the fast pace. Their lone extended piece over eleven minutes, "Foc" utilizes a spritely repeat melody, stopped and started with the most dazzling display of chops. At the end of the program each presents a solo piece, where Gabriela proves the sensitive guitarist, while Rodrigo is the driving force and hot rod pilot. The operative description for Rodrigo Y Gabriela is pyrotechnics, so if speed king and queen type virtuosity (they are virtuosos) is your thing, then this should appeal to you as might Jeff Beck, John McLaughlin, Al DiMeola, or Allan Holdsworth. © Michael G. Nastos /TiVo
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Metal - Released September 7, 2009 | Rubyworks

The very first moments of Rodrigo y Gabriela's sophomore effort, 11:11, hit the listener cold in the face, and not just because of the amazing guitar playing. Sure, it's there, but it's what anyone who heard the duo's astonishing debut would expect. No, it's the sound of the record: immediate, forceful, crystalline; it's in-your-face compelling and impossible to ignore. 11:11 features 11 new compositions, dedicated to 11 musical artists (not all guitarists, either) who have had an influence on the duo. Recorded in Ixtapa, Mexico, the set was self-produced with the exception of two cuts, which were co-produced with John Leckie. The set was mixed in Wales and London by Colin Richardson, who has worked with metal bands Trivium and Slipknot. The set opens with the striking, rhythmically complex "Hanuman," dedicated to Carlos Santana. While it doesn't work so much on the level of Santana's soaring solos, what it does do is capture the dramatic, rhythmically complex elements of his trademark style and roots him directly inside the entire lineage of great Latin guitarists. Next up is "Buster Voodoo," dedicated to Jimi Hendrix. The late guitarist's original nickname was Buster, and he wrote "Voodoo Chile," hence the title. This track is far afield from the preceding one in that it lifts elements of the Hendrix tune, and moves into a solid meld of heavy metal dynamics and contemporary Latin style -- there's even the use of a wah-wah pedal on a nylon-string guitar to excellent effect. The fuzzed-out intro to "Santo Domingo" is a rather jarring effect for a tune that is dedicated to Latin jazz pianist and composer Michel Camilo, but it's named for the city of his birth and therefore captures in sound the splendor and color of the city. The Afro-Cuban, Spanish, and Mexican rhythmic complexities shown by Gabriela Quintero are perhaps more astonishing than the stellar, even dazzling single-string work by Rodrigo Sanchez. "Atman," dedicated to the late Dimebag Darrell of Pantera and Damageplan, features a searing guest appearance by Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick and is truly one of the high points on the recording. It is also a terrific reminder that Rodrigo y Gabriela began their musical careers as electric guitarists in heavy metal bands. Other standout tracks include "Master Maqui," with acoustic solos by Strunz & Farah; "Hora Zero," inspired by -- and dedicated to -- Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla; and "Savitri," dedicated to the John McLaughlin-led acoustic trio Shakti. The set whispers to a close -- in sharp contrast to its beginning -- with the title track, dedicated to Pink Floyd and featuring the piano work of Edgardo Pineda Sanchez. Throughout, Rodrigo y Gabriela showcase their metal chops as part and parcel of their Mexican guitar heritage. They've not simply melded the two, but have created an entirely different form of music for the acoustic guitar in the process. It's also important to note that while their technical facility is indeed dazzling, this is not the reason to sit down and dig into this record; it's the music itself. It's infectious and accessible, full of pathos, intensity, passion, and color. It's dazzling because the compositions are so imaginative and tight -- a light year's growth from their debut. This music is arranged with flair, soul, intelligence, and economy; as busy and full as it sounds, there isn't an extra note anywhere here. 11:11 reveals a true musical and sonic expansion without Rodrigo y Gabriela losing sight of their strength as an acoustic duo. Awesome. [There is a Deluxe Edition of the CD that contains a bonus DVD as well. On it are interviews with Rodrigo y Gabriela, a live rehearsal, a documentary, and a tutorial for "Buster Voodoo."] © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Metal - Released July 25, 2011 | Rubyworks

Given the sheer excitement and fiery acoustic guitar pyrotechnics that Rodrigo y Gabriela generated with their first two studio albums, what transpires on Live in France may not only dazzle, but astonish. Recorded in five cities during their tour supporting 11:11, this 11-song set features nine performances of cuts from that album, and a solo improvisation each. The wah-wah pedal introduced on 11:11 is plentifully present here, used most effectively by Gabriela as a powerful rhythmic element on "Hora Zero" (written for Astor Piazzolla) and as a gnarly lead instrument on "Santo Domingo" by Rodrigo (written for Michel Camilo). "Gabriela Solo" begins with an intro to Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile," and indeed serves as an intro to the duo's beautiful performance of the tune dedicated to him, "Buster Voodoo." Hearing her percussive style, where intense polyrhythms are played on the wood of the instrument as much as on the strings themselves, is a mindblower. When Gabriela kicks the wah-wah pedal on, the entire track hits stun. "Savitri" (inspired by John McLaughlin and Shakti) combines tango, flamenco, and even Indian classical themes in a slightly different arrangement than the studio version. Rodrigo's fluidity is matched modally by Gabriela's seamless rhythmic interplay; she accents the ends of his lines with the beginnings of new ones. Here too, the wah-wah pedal makes a necessary appearance -- from both guitarists. Rodrigo's lead lines in the middle eight are as hefty as they are hypnotic. The reading of "Hanuman" (dedicated to Carlos Santana) highlights -- even more so than the studio version -- the deep commitment of its subject to Afro-Cuban music in his own approach to the guitar; knotty montunos and rumbas are sharply articulated in both the front line and in the rhythmic pulse. If you already have the studio recording and wonder whether purchasing this is necessary, the answer is simply "yes." The spontaneity, improvisation, and interaction between the audience and Rodrigo y Gabriela make Live in France a musical document that exists on an entirely different level than its studio companion. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Metal - Released January 23, 2012 | Rubyworks

From Re-Foc, their very first release in 2002, post-nuevo flamenco guitar duo Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero thumbed their noses at purist notions of flamenco. Having initially come from heavy metal, they wedded their new music to metal's pyrotechnics and the various folk styles of their native Mexico, creating a new genre in acoustic music. That said, Area 52 is unlike anything they have recorded before. The album began as simply an orchestral overview of tunes from their catalog to issue while they wrote new material, but it became something wholly other. Along with producer Peter Asher and arranger Alex Wilson (whose charts here are almost too fantastic to believe), they employed C.U.B.A., a 13-piece Cuban orchestra, and the diverse talents of several guests. Recording mainly in Havana, the duo, with C.U.B.A., set about completely reinventing RyG's songs. Take opener "Santo Domingo," with Los Van Van's Samuel Formell in the drum chair. Here, those acoustic guitars are augmented by strings, a whomping funky electric bassline, a full brass section, saxophone, and flute. They travel through fiery Afro-Cuban montunos and charging descargas wed seamlessly to their brand of flamenco. "Hanuman" features metal drummer John Tempesta in a frenetic son layered over flamenco before Santana-esque lead guitars and a full-fledged timba take the lead. Sitar great Anoushka Shankar helps out on "Ixtapa" by playing an illuminating solo amid the acoustic guitars and percussion section, before they force her to up the ante and improvise Latin style, touching on guaguanco. She responds fluidly and imaginatively; eventually, flamenco gets moved all the way over into salsa and Afro-Cuban jazz à la Machito! "11:11" highlights the gorgeous upright bass playing of guest Carlos Benavent (formerly of Paco de Lucía's group) and the chanted vocals of Carlota Teresa Noriega in call and response with the band. Sanchez's acoustic steel-string and electric lap steel guitar solos are delicious, too. The oud playing of Palestinian Le Trio Joubran on "Master Maqui" stands in contrast to Wilson's big horn charts (which are a dead cross between Gerald Wilson's and Tito Puente's). The ouds and guitars exchange fours and eights, getting kissed by a flute. Before things get too sweet, the horns blast in, ushering in a duel between ouds and guitars melding Middle Eastern and Latin musics. "Tamacun" reprises Tempesta on drums. It commences as a frenetic big-band flamenco with guitars, drums, and flute up front before things get whompy, and danzon and rumba make entrances and exits. While it would seem that nothing on Area 52 should work, it all does. What started out as simply an orchestral retrospective has become an entirely new Rodrigo y Gabriela album, one that showcases an even more startling range of musicianship. In sum, this album expands the very definition of musical collaboration. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Metal - Released April 28, 2014 | Rubyworks

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Rodrigo y Gabriela's 9 Dead Alive is their first album of new material in five years. Written, arranged, and co-produced by the pair, they deliberately attempt to forgo the Latin influence in their music in favor of an all-rock (albeit still acoustic) approach -- which marks a return to their pre-recording roots in heavy metal. (That they don't entirely succeed is part of what makes 9 Dead Alive so compelling.) Each tune was composed for a different inspiration: authors, philosophers, activists, scientists, and a queen. The set was exquisitely recorded in Mexico by Fermin Vasquez Llera. There isn't a dull moment in these 41 minutes. "The Soundmaker," for 19th century luthier and guitarist Antonio de Torres Jurado, commences with Rodrigo's knotty riff and Gabriela's chugging rhythmic vamp. Two things are immediately apparent: that their collective playing style owes much to heavy metal -- where they came from before studying flamenco -- and, divorced from its bombast, metal is steeped in lyricism. "Torito," with its careening interscalar soloing and riffs, possesses some of Gabriela's most inventive rhythmic technique, slapping and frenetically strumming her guitar with controlled, yet passionate, aggression in dialogue and argument with his leads. Her cross-cut syncopations drive Rodrigo's attack and melodic inventions in "Misty Moses" (for Harriet Tubman), a tune that changes directions several times and shifts its central harmonic focus with dazzling clarity. "Somnium" (inspired by 17th century writer, feminist, and nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz) employs twinned, stacked melodies that move from allegrissimo to presto, and employ reverse arpeggiato, all the while overflowing with emotional resonance. On "The Russian Messenger," Gabriela creates a menacing rhythmic attack of palm slaps on the wood of her instrument, interspersed with slashing minor sevenths; Rodrigo counters with delicacy in a flurry of lithe single notes. On "Megalopolis" (for poet Gabriela Mistral), Spanish music comes shining through in gloriously articulated fingerpicking, doubled melody lines, and a narrative structure that recalls Spanish folk music. "La Salle des Pas Perdus (for Eleanor of Aquitaine) articulates musical themes from her "art of courtly love" era in the melody. The two guitars fluidly exchange tightly woven lines in nearly songlike interplay (here too, Anglo and Spanish lyricism entwine) before tempo and tension briefly increase, then dissipate elegantly. The dialogue that transpires throughout 9 Dead Alive is lively, eloquent, and actively intellectual, but it is also intimate. Between them, Rodrigo y Gabriela engage in musical and even cultural queries, and sometimes -- provocatively -- leave them wide open. This album evidences an expanded creative reach for the pair, even as it re-engages the sharp edges they displayed on earlier recordings. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Metal - Released February 13, 2015 | Rubyworks

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Metal - Released May 5, 2017 | Rubyworks

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Metal - Released August 17, 2018 | Rubyworks

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World - Released January 31, 2019 | Rubyworks

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Metal - Released April 26, 2019 | Rubyworks

Mettavolution, the title of acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela's fifth studio album, is drawn from two distinct words. "Metta" is Sanskrit for loving kindness, compassion for self and others, and one of Buddhism's engines of "bodhichitta," the awakened heart's desire to benefit all beings through meditation and action. The word "revolution," with its Latin root, offers several meanings, including "a fundamental change in the way of thinking about something." What does Mettavolution have to do with rock & roll, particularly the metal- and flamenco-influenced inspiration of R&G's music? Doesn't beautiful music benefit all who encounter it? Mettavolution is the first studio album by the duo in five years. After revisiting their root inspirations for 2014's fine 9 Dead Alive, R&G vowed to "reconnect with the physical rush and emotional core of the music they first made together." They developed material in their studio in Ixtapa on Mexico's Pacific coast, roadtested it, then sent it to producer and collaborator Dave Sardy in Los Angeles; the latter also contributes bass, percussion, and selective "synth effects" to these songs. While the album's most previewed track is a sense-altering 19-minute cover of Pink Floyd’s "Echoes," it's in the five front-end cuts where R&G reveal their latest musical evolution. The title track displays Gabriela Quintero's furious, flamenco-inspired rhythmic invention as the duo's musical heartbeat. She flits through jazz and R&B syncopation, pointed harmonic inventions, and propulsive dynamics. Rodrigo Sanchez's lead playing criss-crosses metal and hard rock, classical music and blues. Along with Sardy's, their actual voices join in a wordless chorus ushering in its soaring conclusion. "Terracentric" is introduced with a gritty R&B-styled rhythmic groove, as Sanchez's twinned string leads deliver shard-like riffs and fills, while Quintero delivers a Nile Rodgers-esque vamp in the choruses. The duo combine flamenco and earthy cumbia in "Cumbe," with leads coming from a clipped wah-wah pedal framed by bass, shakers, and sundry "clickity clacks." After the bluesy rock groove of "Electronic Soul," the whirring sound of space introduces "Krotona Days," that offers the most intimate, dazzling guitar interplay on the record. "Witness Days" closes out the first half with its funky backbeat, desert-themed melodic assignations, and metallic pyrotechnics on both lead and rhythmic guitars in a startling array of rhythmic grooves. The staccato lyric fills set up a contrast for the labyrinthine "Echoes," that commences briefly with an insistent, clarion single-note pulse. This version doesn't drift. It asserts its languid bluesy persona before articulating the melody in verses that preface the innovative themes that emerge later. It's a breathtaking conclusion that serves to underscore the abundant originality and soul R&G bring to everything they play. Mettavolution is the R&G record where all of their gifts are on display and in sync; it sends listeners on a holistic journey of musical discovery and emotional resonance. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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World - Released April 12, 2019 | Rubyworks

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Metal - Released April 26, 2019 | Rubyworks

Mettavolution, the title of acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela's fifth studio album, is drawn from two distinct words. "Metta" is Sanskrit for loving kindness, compassion for self and others, and one of Buddhism's engines of "bodhichitta," the awakened heart's desire to benefit all beings through meditation and action. The word "revolution," with its Latin root, offers several meanings, including "a fundamental change in the way of thinking about something." What does Mettavolution have to do with rock & roll, particularly the metal- and flamenco-influenced inspiration of R&G's music? Doesn't beautiful music benefit all who encounter it? Mettavolution is the first studio album by the duo in five years. After revisiting their root inspirations for 2014's fine 9 Dead Alive, R&G vowed to "reconnect with the physical rush and emotional core of the music they first made together." They developed material in their studio in Ixtapa on Mexico's Pacific coast, roadtested it, then sent it to producer and collaborator Dave Sardy in Los Angeles; the latter also contributes bass, percussion, and selective "synth effects" to these songs. While the album's most previewed track is a sense-altering 19-minute cover of Pink Floyd’s "Echoes," it's in the five front-end cuts where R&G reveal their latest musical evolution. The title track displays Gabriela Quintero's furious, flamenco-inspired rhythmic invention as the duo's musical heartbeat. She flits through jazz and R&B syncopation, pointed harmonic inventions, and propulsive dynamics. Rodrigo Sanchez's lead playing criss-crosses metal and hard rock, classical music and blues. Along with Sardy's, their actual voices join in a wordless chorus ushering in its soaring conclusion. "Terracentric" is introduced with a gritty R&B-styled rhythmic groove, as Sanchez's twinned string leads deliver shard-like riffs and fills, while Quintero delivers a Nile Rodgers-esque vamp in the choruses. The duo combine flamenco and earthy cumbia in "Cumbe," with leads coming from a clipped wah-wah pedal framed by bass, shakers, and sundry "clickity clacks." After the bluesy rock groove of "Electronic Soul," the whirring sound of space introduces "Krotona Days," that offers the most intimate, dazzling guitar interplay on the record. "Witness Days" closes out the first half with its funky backbeat, desert-themed melodic assignations, and metallic pyrotechnics on both lead and rhythmic guitars in a startling array of rhythmic grooves. The staccato lyric fills set up a contrast for the labyrinthine "Echoes," that commences briefly with an insistent, clarion single-note pulse. This version doesn't drift. It asserts its languid bluesy persona before articulating the melody in verses that preface the innovative themes that emerge later. It's a breathtaking conclusion that serves to underscore the abundant originality and soul R&G bring to everything they play. Mettavolution is the R&G record where all of their gifts are on display and in sync; it sends listeners on a holistic journey of musical discovery and emotional resonance. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Metal - Released October 17, 2019 | Rubyworks

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Metal - Released November 19, 2019 | Rubyworks

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Metal - Released January 17, 2020 | Rubyworks

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