About Rodrigo y Gabriela
Rodrigo y Gabriela are a Mexican acoustic guitar duo whose music is influenced by a number of genres including nuevo flamenco, rock, and heavy metal. The duo's recordings consist largely of instrumental duets on the flamenco guitar. Currently residing in Mexico City, they began their career in Dublin, Ireland, during an eight-year stay. They have released five studio albums, three live albums and one EP. In 2011, they collaborated with Hans Zimmer on the Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides soundtrack while also contributing to the soundtrack for Puss in Boots. They have toured internationally and in May 2010, performed at The White House for President Barack Obama.
Rodrigo Sánchez and Gabriela Quintero grew up in middle-class families in Mexico City. Their parents listened to flamenco, jazz, and rock music, but they were both exposed to heavy metal, like Metallica, which proved influential to Rodrigo and Gabriela.
Rodrigo and Gabriela met at the age of 15, at 'la casa de la cultura' in Mexico City, where Rodrigo's brother was the director. Quintero was in a drama class and at the suggestion of his brother, Rodrigo met up with her. She remembers "this 15-year-old boy there, dressed in a black ... with messy hair. Yet he was different to the other metal-heads his age: he seemed very serious and didn't drink or smoke". The two bonded over their interest in music and they soon became a couple.
In the early 1990s, Sánchez formed a heavy metal band called Tierra Ácida with his brother. Quintero joined them in 1993 "as they couldn't get a guitarist who would please Rodrigo". When a record deal for the band fell through in 1997, Sánchez and Quintero left Mexico City for the resort town of Ixtapa on the Pacific coast of Mexico. They played in beach-side bars and hotels for nine months where "we wanted to play a different kind of music, something we could make as our own".
Growing frustrated with the limited scope of the domestic Mexican rock scene, the duo moved to Europe. After travelling around, they took up residence in Dublin, Ireland, in 1999, despite not speaking any English. Playing live gigs in various pubs and busking on Grafton Street where they began to play "many cover songs, which we enjoyed. Then we began to put in our own songs, and we've built up our repertoire from there". They became friends with fellow musician Damien Rice who invited them to open for one of his shows. He also introduced the duo to Niall Muckian, who became their manager. In the first half of 2001 they recorded a 9-track demo called Foc of their own material supplemented by some covers, also featuring an appearance by Zoe Conway.
As interest in the band grew, it was decided to re-record the songs on the demo as re-Foc in 2002 with a number of friends, including Lisa Hannigan who provided vocal stylings and Conway, who by now also was a feature of the live set-up of the duo. The album appeared on Muckian's own Rubyworks Records as he found that "because it is all instrumental, we found it hard to get major-label interest or any radio-play, so I put it out myself". As interest grew, the duo were offered further support-slots, which resulted in an eight-track live-album recorded in Dublin and Manchester, released in 2004.
The eponymous album, Rodrigo y Gabriela, entered the Irish Albums Chart at #1 beating Arctic Monkeys and Johnny Cash to the top spot. It was released internationally on March 13, 2006, having been given an earlier Irish release. Rodrigo y Gabriela, which was produced by John Leckie, includes covers of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" and Metallica's "Orion". The duo lists Metallica as being among their key influences, alongside other heavy metal bands such as Megadeth, Slayer, Testament and Overkill. The other tracks are original works inspired by the places they have been and the people they have met.
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