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Friday, Sept. 26, 2008
Rodrigo y Gabriela
By IAN MARTIN
Mexican acoustic instrumental duo Rodrigo y Gabriela cut their teeth in the thrash band Tierra Acida, playing the dirtiest dives of Mexico City before decamping to Dublin in 1999. Soon after they busked around Europe for a while, developing their unique fusion of styles and building a body of their own original work, before resettling in Ireland, where they finally started building up the kind of frenzied support they now enjoy.
The duo are inspired as much by the thrash metal of Slayer, Megadeth and Metallica as they are by more traditional Latin acoustic music such as flamenco and Mexican folk songs. Gabriela's more percussive style demonstrates the flamenco influence most clearly, while Rodrigo's finger-picking hops between styles; and the duo's self-titled 2006 album, produced by Radiohead and Stone Roses producer John Leckie, wears its rock influences on its sleeve with covers of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" and Metallica's "Orion." Perhaps the best jumping-on point, however, is the single "Diablo Rojo" ("Red Devil"), where the thundering of Gabriela's hands and fingertips on the body of her guitar forms a counterpoint to Rodrigo's lightning-speed fretboard workouts and neatly encapsulates the duo's dynamic.
Rodrigo y Gabriela have been drawing rave reviews, not least for their well-received set at Fuji Rock this summer, and their next visit to Japan will come hot on the heels of the release of a new album, "Live in Japan," recorded in Tokyo earlier this year. Their forthcoming Japan tour has already sold out one date, at Shibuya AX, and the other two shows look set to follow suit, so procrastinators may be disappointed.
Rodrigo y Gabriela play Nov. 10 at Osaka Big Cat (6 p.m., ¥6,000); Nov. 12 at Shibuya AX (6 p.m., sold out); and Nov. 14 at Shibuya O-East (6 p.m., ¥6,000, on sale from Oct. 27). For more information, call Smash on (03) 2444-6751.