Virtuosic duo Rodrigo y Gabriela re-write the rules on acoustic guitar 

On the Ones

On the Ones

Since their early days in the Mexico City thrash metal band Tierra Acida (including a period playing in Dublin bars and pubs), the Mexican guitar duo of Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero have consistently demonstrated both astonishing technical facility and a far-reaching knowledge of musical idioms. Now on tour supporting their third studio album 11:11, a disc designed to showcase the many personalities who have influenced their work, the duo acknowledge their greatest challenge during the recording session was narrowing choices to 11.

"It was a long process," Sanchez says. "We had a list of 25. The final decision was based on people Gabriela and I equally enjoyed, and whose music was in both of our iPods. For instance, I really wanted to do a Megadeth cut, but Gabriela wasn't all that enthusiastic about their music from the last couple of years, so we scratched that one." 

Still, the list ranges from rock (Santana, Hendrix, Pink Floyd) to jazz (Michel Camilo, John McLaughlin, Al DiMeola) and world/Latin (Paco De Lucia, Jorge Reyes, Le Trio Joubran). Each song features Sanchez's fiery melodic expositions underscored by Quintero's imaginative, often daring counterpoint and complementary rhythm lines.  

"We weren't necessarily trying on every song to do something exactly reflective of a composer," Rodrigo continued. "The Astor Piazzolla piece doesn't really have anything to do with tango, and that was the point. He extended the tango form in so many different directions, and was such a great influence on so many musicians, especially Latin musicians, we wanted to do something that paid tribute to him. By contrast, the Hendrix piece was designed to show how much playing influence he had on us."

 Though they remain strong acoustic exponents, fans will notice some new weapons in the arsenal. "People have asked me if I was afraid of doing something electric in the music, and to be truthful, for a while there I was a bit scared," Sanchez says. "But now we've added distortion pedals and other effects, and we have a sound engineer who can mix those things and really make them work in our show."

They'll also look to make them work on record. "We're going to get back to our roots on our next album," Sanchez says. "We want to put in some of the metal and rock elements that we did when we started. We'll always play acoustic guitars, but we're going to show you can incorporate electric things and a rock mood, yet expand the acoustic guitar's direction."

Email music@nashvillescene.com.

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