Mexican flamenco guitar duo
Rodrigo & Gabriela
(Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero), who grew up influenced by rock music,
displayed their crossover skills on
Dances like Foc,
and Georges Street are pure verve and
melody. However, Diem and Temple Bar prove that their art is
not only speed but also brains (and perhaps a bit of neurosis).
New One slips into the
lounge atmosphere and the bad influence of easy-listening muzak of the 1960s.
A version of Dave Brubeck's Take 5 established their credentials
in the jazz realm too.
Ridrigo y Gabriela (2006) was a better engineered balance of flamenco
and pop inspirations.
The spiraling supersonic melody of Tamacun was matched by
the Mediterranean-tinged melody Vikingman
and the Peruvian-tinged melody Ixtapa (probably their catchiest
The Eastern European-tinged bravura show Diablo Rojo led to the
cinematic eloquence of Satori.
To increase their rock credentials the duo also covered
Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven and
Trying to capitalize on that success,
11:11 (2009), the first album to contain only self-penned compositions,
ran the danger of sounding like fashionable world-muzak.
While some pieces exhibit cute rhythmic tricks (Buster Voodoo,
the likes of Hanuman and Master Maqui fail to achieve the same
melodic charm of the previous album. At best many of them sound like a vanity
show (Hora Zero).
At worst, they come through as aimless.
11:11 is a shameless cocktail-lounge ballad.
Area 52 (2012) was a collaboration with a 13-piece Cuban orchestra.
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