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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
“Which is terrible,” says Gabriela. “For me, this life was the ultimate dream I always had – playing music and travelling. And for Rodrigo it was the same. So for us, to sacrifice all that for some fucking relationship which is shit – we’d have no time for that at all. There’s no time for being upset or demanding with each other.”
“For whatever the reason, do you know what I’m saying?” adds Rodrigo. “Whether we are a couple or not, we respect each other as people. And whatever she wants to do, or whoever she wants to go with, it’s her business, and the same goes for me.”
I’m quite amazed at how cool these guys are on the question of what most people would think of – prejudicially, I guess – as infidelity. They’re both very sexy, very sexual people – warm and funny and full of joie de vivre, with attractive, vital minds which seem to love learning. Apart from that, they’re young, extremely talented, and spend a lot of time on the beach or being adored by fans. Jaysus! They must both have sexual offers all over the place!
Stumblingly, I ask: “Did you have to struggle through a lot of emotional pain to get to the place where you can be calm about the openness?”
“Of course,” says Gabriela and she smiles that playful smile. “We started off going out together as a typical couple in the rock band when we were about 19. But we were never, like, clingy with each other. It was more like, ‘Look, don’t even touch me when we’re out’!”
“We had the openness vibe – but didn’t really know how to deal with it,” recalls Rodrigo, who is naturally more serious and reserved. “We felt under pressure to be like a normal couple.”
One of the pressures derives from the reality that there are very few if any positive role models for the kind of relationship that Gabriela and Rodrigo now enjoy: there's nowhere people can look and say ‘Well, that’s how it’s done successfully’. Aside from that, there’s a lot of facile condemnation of ‘open relationships’, with many people believing that it’s simply impossible for them to work. But why not? While an open relationships certainly wouldn’t work for every couple, it could well prove be a path to far greater happiness for many. That Rodrigo and Gabriela share such clear and similar life-visions seems to be a big reason for their success in this adventure.