Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero are two fast-fingered Mexicans with a unique sound created on acoustic guitars. Their music is difficult to define, straddling both world and rock and often imbued with timeless Hispano – classical influences. The fire in their music comes from their life-long passion for metal music. In spring 2006, “Rodrigo y Gabriela,” beat both the Arctic Monkeys AND Johnny Cash to number one in the Irish charts. Both the artists and their third self–titled album have gone on to enjoy international success since its initial release in early 2006.
Rodrigo is a deft finger-picker who can move from raging speed to sensual soul in the space of a fret, while Gabriela employs fast, rhythmic techniques. Her percussionist’s thrashing of strings and drumming of the instrument’s body inevitably raises comparisons with the flamenco style of rumba, but the band specifically denies a flamenco influence. Nonetheless, it is often referred to as “nuevo flamenco”, symbolising a sort of renaissance of the traditionally Spanish music genre whose origins began in the Middle East when the Moors brought their cultural music to Europe. The duo’s repertoire flies beyond familiar latin folk guitarists’ styles because of the metal connection: their reworkings of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and Metallica’s “Orion” are musts, and the presence on “Ixtapa” of the fiery hungarian gypsy violinist Roby Lakatos is inspirational.