Rodrigo Y Gabriela
Rubyworks Records/ ATO Records
One duo, two acoustic guitars, and an insane amount of talent have launched Rodrigo Y Gabriela into worldwide stardom. Their self-titled album slowly gained momentum from their homeland in Ireland to South Africa, Australia, Japan, and beyond. Now their latest, 11:11, is bound to give them the notoriety that they deserve here in The States.
The liner notes help put every song in perspective as each one is dedicated to the various artists that have inspired them. “Buster Voodoo” is a killer Spanish-flavored blues track dedicated to Jimi Hendrix that was so named because Hendrix was called “Buster” as a kid and in his prime he wrote “Voodoo Chile.”
“Master Maqui,” dedicated to Paco de Lucia, features guests Strunz and Farah playing like the guitars are on fire. It’s amazing.
Rodrigo Y Gabriela also add instruments other than acoustic guitars. They add piano (on the Pink Floyd-dedicated title track; “eleven pieces paying tribute to eleven artists that, somehow, inspired us along the way to play what we play on this album.”) and ukulele.
The best addition strangely is the electric guitar. Provided by Testament’s Alex Skolnick on the Dimebag Darrell-dedicated “Atman,” the three thrash out a strictly metal sound on the song that is “a Sanskrit word meaning the only deathless part of the human being.” Now that’s friggin’ metal.
As with their last album, this one comes with a DVD of live performances (six songs performed specifically for the DVD), a video biography of the duo that includes the studio and how the record was made and (my favorite) a tutorial on how to play like both Rodrigo and Gabriela. I’ve tried a couple of dozen times to play like both of them and they make it seem so effortless. It’s not. At all.
11:11 makes their self-titled album sound like a launching pad. They added just enough guests and instruments to make their instrumental sound grow even more, without losing what makes them sound so good: their acoustics. Rodrigo Y Gabriela have taken over the world. Now it’s time to take over The States.
Rodrigo Y Gabriela: www.rodgab.com