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A beautiful affair
Their unique combination of sensual Latin melodies and brilliant, metal-inspired guitar playing have made Rodrigo y Gabriela a phenomenon in their adopted Ireland, with a platinum album, sell-out tours and barn-storming festival appearances already to their credit. Now, with the release of their third album, Rodrigo y Gabriela, their sights are set on the international arena. Here, this extraordinary couple explain why they swapped sun-drenched Mexico for rain-kissed Dublin – and, for the first time, talk candidly about the open relationship they enjoy, as long-term friends and lovers.
Adrienne Murphy, 20 Feb 2006
I ask Rodrigo if he feels the same way.
“Well, I wouldn’t change what I do now, because of the uniqueness of it,” he says. “But I would like in my spare time – if I ever get any! – to have a thrash metal band with friends, just for the laugh.”
Rodrigo and Gabriela explain that their particular blend of guitar styles is as unusual in Mexico as it is on this side of the world. Without a doubt, this unique mix has been a major factor in their rapid rise to success.
“Yes, definitely,” says Rodrigo, “and that’s the thing I like the most about what we do. When we play at festivals or wherever, we have no reason to compare ourselves to other bands, or to feel the need to compete in any way. When we were in the thrash metal band and playing at festivals, always we’d feel competition, because there were a lot of people doing the same thing. Nowadays we feel complete freedom from all of that.”
Their incomparable sound is also a major reason for their popularity as a support band for big acts, who often prefer not to risk being upstaged by bands that play music from a similar genre. Over the last few months, Rodrigo Y Gabriela have been getting massive exposure to a different audience, playing to arena-size crowds in the UK and Europe as support to David Gray. The thing is that they’re on a roll, constantly converting people anew to the Rodrigo and Gabriela cause. You get the feeling that if it continues in this vein, there’s a couple of superstars in the making sitting here – albeit, as it turns out, a pair of very unconventional superstars.
Gabriela and Rodrigo’s lives have been deeply intertwined for many years. They live, compose, play music and travel together constantly. Latin music traditionally expresses the passions and storms of intimate relationships (“You should hear the lyrics!” Gabriela laughs. “It’s like, ‘You fucking bastard, you’ll never set foot in this house again!’ and ‘I wouldn’t want to anyway, you stupid cow!’").