By Brian Bowers
Back in high school, I vividly recall running across a quote once that stated something along the lines of “aside from silence, that which comes closest to expressing the inexpressible, is music.” It has the ability to reach the deepest parts of us as it moves us, soothes us and says everything that is beyond words. Intoxicating, hypnotic and virtuositic are a just a few words one could used to describe the sensational guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela. Whether in live performance or recording, when these two are joined together they create a musical force to be reckoned with. One could easily argue that the highly intimate, impassioned performances are something beyond entertainment. While the two are undoubtedly entertaining and show a level of mastery many could only wished for, on a deeper level they are communicating and conversing through the language of music in a way that is profoundly moving. Needless to say, audience and listeners alike are privied to a soulful exchange that is truly breathtaking.
In a music industry that is frequently dominated by synthesizers and electric music, it is needless to say they add a bit of freshness and diversity as brilliant acoustic performers. Though they aren’t the only act of this ‘genre’ they have certainly been carving their own unique place in the music industry. Since the release of the album 11:11, they’ve been setting the tour trail ablaze. Traveling all across the US, then to Zurich, London, Paris and Dublin just to name a few. In many of these cities, they have multiple tour dates. They are energetic, dedicated and they are clearly in demand. In fact, just recently, the fantastic duo performed here in Houston at the House of Blues and gave a concert that received great reviews and praise. For all of the technical prowess they demonstrate, in their music they give of themselves. They add the special “something” to a piece of music that moves it from the mind, to the heart and the spirt. That special something provides a feeling of satisfaction and nourishment at the end of a great performance. These unique qualities they possess demonstrate exactly why the demand is so great.
11:11 (first released in September 2009) is their 3rd studio effort following the 2006 release of their self-titled Rodrigo y Gabriela. The title track “11:11” is a hauntingly gorgeous and rather mysterious piece. Characterized by infectious rhythm, the pulse is somewhat suggestive and beckons you to a place beyond where you are. The album itself is the sound of depth and passion and you can definitely listen to this cohesive work from start to finish. The effortless and fluid playing they demonstrate almost seems improvisatory. But it is clear that each song has a unique, pronounced structure that is undeniable. The seamless blend of polyrhythms, layered voices and memorable motifs are emphasized by near perfect articulations. The command they have over their music reaches straight to the core of one’s being.
The 11 theme runs through the entire album album. The title is, of course as mentioned, “11:11.” The album is comprised of 11 tracks all composed by both Rodrigo y Gabriela with John Leckie as co-producer on one of the tracks. According to their official press release, the solid album serves as a “Gracias” to music masters of the present and past that have inspired them along their path. If Rodrigo Sánchez and Gabriela Quintero continue along this path, it won’t be long before they are mentioned in the same ranks with the very masters they adore.
Click here for the video for “Hanuman!”