Acoustic Guitars at their Best Courtesy of Rodrigo y Gabriela – 9 Dead Alive!

RodirgoY Gabriela 2

RodirgoY Gabriela 2For the last week or so the album 9 Dead Alive the latest from Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero aka Rodrigo y Gabriela has  been on the iPhone and like all of their albums from this string wizards it’s great.Since their self-titled début album premiered in 2006  on the Irish music charts at number 1,  the duo have sold more than 1.2 million albums, performed at The White House for the U.S. President Barack Obama! As well as collaborating with Hans Zimmer on the Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides soundtrack while also contributing to the soundtrack for the Shrek prequel Puss in Boots!

Not  bad for two musicians who started out playing metal in a band Sanchez and his brother formed, Tierra Acida (“Acid Land”) and whose record deal fell through in 1997!! After the deal fell through Rodrgo and Gabriela left Mexico City  for the resort town of Ixtapa on the Pacific coast of Mexico. They played in beach side bars and practiced for long hours Eventually, the left Mexico for Dublin, where they gained notoriety playing on the streets!  After gaining a cult following by playing on the streets, they finally released that self-titled album in 2006 and like they say “the rest is history!”

I discovered their music shortly after I started this blog in 2010 when 11:11 was their most recent release.9 Dead ALiveSince then Rodrigo y Gabriela, Area 52 and Live in Japan have been added to my music library! Some details about 9 Dead Alive from Thom Jurek at AllMusic……

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 driveRodrigo‘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. Full Review

It is one thing to listen to these two exceptional musicians, so let’s do that, as we watch them performed “The Russian Messenger” Then you can check them out at…..

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