Trackpacking is a recurring series highlighting musicians that inspire me to travel.
Consider this: Two Mexican guitarists quit their thrash metal band and move to Ireland where they find critical acclaim as an acoustic guitar duo specializing in Flamenco-inflected folky instrumental rock inspired by Metallica. Sound unlikely? Maybe the winning premise of a new HBO series?
Actually yes, on both accounts, but it’s the true story of Rodrigo y Gabriela.
From Mexico City to Limerick, Rodrigo y Gabriela have taken their unique brand of rhythmic acoustic guitar harmonies around the world. And I have to say, it doesn’t take much time listening to their crazily energetic songs before I’m ready to kick off my round the world jaunt right now. Any given song might blend lightning-fast finger picking with percussive guitar slapping with complex combinations of strumming and string muting. Believing that two people can create this music is nearly impossible; the first time I heard Tamacun I pictured a couple of four-armed Vishnu-like demigods shooting heavenly riffs from guitars dipped in the Fountain of Youth.
Aspiring guitarists, this would be shooting high.
I first heard of Rodrigo y Gabriela from our close friends Tim and Jessie. They invited us to a show in Milwaukee and we reluctantly turned it down due to its being in a different city and on a weeknight. I did, however, look into the music. Since then I’ve been enamored of their style and it often reminds me of Flamenco and Fado music from the time we spent in Spain and Portugal. Their music is the perfect cure for complacency and the cause of several impromptu and embarrassing solo dance parties. Yes, it’s true.
Rodrigo y Gabriela released the excellent album 11:11 last year and they’re on tour this fall in the United States and United Kingdom. I think Sarah and I are going to see them in Milwaukee on October 6! In a different city and on a weeknight no less. [ed. note: the show was canceled]
Pack These Tracks
- Tamacun, from Rodrigo y Gabriela. I think you’ve already got a visual for this one. This is a powerful way to kick off an album.
- Orion, from Rodrigo y Gabriela. A gorgeous and stylized take on a Metallica masterpiece.
- Hanuman, from 11:11. Insane finger-picking dances over some wild strumming.
- Buster Voodoo, from 11:11. A dirty groove and catchy chorus make this a standout track.
- Logos/Santo Domingo, from 11:11. An ethereal melody leads into the fiery Santo Domingo. You might remember Santo Domingo from the Bay to Breakers video.
Create a Moment with Rodrigo y Gabriela
- Get the people together for an barbecue on a beautiful day.
- Spice up the soundtrack to your last bit of packing before the big trip.
- Pipe it through your headphones as you walk through the winding city streets.
What music moves you? Fatten up my iPod!
Original photos by Kmeron via Flickr under Creative Commons