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YEAR FORMED: 1995
HOME TOWN: Mexico City, Mexico
Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero have been playing guitar together for more than fifteen years. Their acoustic, nylon stringed instruments produce a unique sound which is not easy to classify; encompassing influences from both rock and world music. While there are timeless Hispano-classical influences, the fire in the music comes from their joint devotion to the power of thrash metal and hard rock. From the tenative steps of their first self-released album in 2001, Rodrigo y Gabriela have grown in stature to be recognised as an international recording artistes with over one million albums sold; and a string of sold out concert tours around the world.
Rodrigo and Gabriela met as teenagers at the Casa de Cultura (Culture House) in Mexico City, sharing an interest in the music of Metallica and Led Zeppelin. They played together in a thrash metal band called Tierra Acida (Acid Earth) and flunked their entrance to the Conservatory. Tierra Acida enjoyed some local success on the Mexico City thrash scene, and were offered a recording contract. Sensing that this what not their destiny, the duo left the band and with it the hustle and hassle of Mexico City to the more peaceful environs of Ixtapa, on Mexico's Pacific coast.
After a period of hanging out, playing thrash metal covers cunningly disguised as bossa nova in hotels to unsuspecting American guests; they decided to broaden their horizons and travel overseas. A friend suggested they try Ireland first, as the Emerald Isle was a good place for visiting musicians. Avoiding the obvious destinations (language and temperature wise) of Spain or Portugal, they arrived in Dublin with two acoustic guitars and a few words of English in 1999. Quickly running out of money, they started playing on Dublin's busy Grafton Street for spare change; and found gigs in pubs, house parties and once again in hotel lobbys. Every day honing the playing skills which would enhance their repute as instrumental virtuosos.
While busking they met singer-songwriter Damien Rice, then emerging as a solo artist on the Dublin scene; and he invited them to support him at one of his first headline shows. As their reputation grew, they released 'Foc' as a private pressing to sell at gigs. Management and a recording contract with Irish independent label Rubyworks followed, and they released 'Re-foc' in 2003 and 'Live Manchester And Dublin' a year later. The latter being the first instrumental album to crack the Irish Top 10 bestsellers lists. Using Ireland as their base, with the help of shrewd international licensing deals and relentless touring in other territories; Rodrigo y Gabriela emerged as exciting new stars on the world music circuit.
With the release of their self titled third album in 2006, their profile blossomed. Produced by John Leckie (Radiohead, Muse, My Morning Jacket); 'Rodrigo y Gabriela' was their break-out album; selling over half a million albums worldwide (and counting). The period from 2006 to the end of 2008 was marked by a punishing tour schedule criss-crossing the United States, Europe, Australia and Japan. The band appeared on David Letterman, Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien; and enjoyed extensive airplay on PBS and AAA stations.
A tour souvenir CD and DVD 'Live In Japan' was released in 2008, and Rodrigo y Gabriela returned to their new home base in Ixtapa to start work on their new album. Released in the fall of 2009, '11:11' is their most mature album to date. Produced by Rodrigo and mixed by Colin Richardson (Slipknot, Machine Head, Trivium); it is the perfect distillation of their singular gift, showcasing the stunning interplay between Rodrigo's dazzling lead guitar and Gabriela's astonishing rhythm attack. Rodrigo y Gabriela just played a sold out show at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City, and were joined onstage by special guest Robert Trujillo of Metallica fame.