About The Artist
The Set List
Streets of Desire
When Gabriela joined Rodrigo in Tierra Acida (Acid Earth), they began practicing together five hours a day every day, with few breaks and little talking. This discipline set them up to hit the road and head for unlikely Dublin, Ireland: "We always wanted to come to Europe, and we didn't want to come to London or Paris or Spain. We come from a very big city, so we wanted something smaller," reveals Rodrigo. In a strange town and out of money, they did what any musician in Dublin does to survive: they busked. They played on the streets, in restaurants, at weddings and in art galleries, finally catching the attention of Damien Rice, an Irish singer-songwriter who asked them to open for some of his shows. Rice's fans provided the exposure that Rodrigo Y Gabriela needed and their self-titled release entered the Irish charts at No. 1. They beat out both The Arctic Monkeys and Johnny Cash, all the while holding true to their heavy metal background.
A Unique Approach
Deft finger-picking and rhythmic technique aside, Rodrigo Y Gabriela bang on their guitars, flip them on their laps and slide over the strings, bringing out sounds from the depths of the guitar. According to Gabriela, "Acoustic is different, because acoustic you can do whatever you really want. You can play whatever you want on the acoustic guitar. You don't need to plug or anything. So acoustic equals freedom. Acoustic means you can go and travel and play in the cafes and change the country." And that freedom has helped them develop their own unique sound and creative process: "We aren't able to transcribe what we do, because we don't know how to read or write music. We typically just record riffs and ideas into our laptops using the built-in condenser mic. We'll even record ideas into our mobile phone using memo-recording mode. The sound quality may be terrible, but it ensures we remember any ideas that might otherwise disappear."
Whatever that process is, it's apparent when Rodrigo Y Gabriela pick up their guitars that we're in for something amazing. We can honestly say we've never seen anything like this: two passionate musicians with distinct styles that blend seamlessly to create something that's truly unique and completely synergistic. Sit back and enjoy this exclusive Soundcheck session. And pick up a copy of their album, in stores and online now.
-The Crew at Wal-Mart Soundcheck
- They are Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero, and are both originally from Mexico
- Before joining Tierra Acida, Gabriela simultaneously ran three girls' bands, Las Brujas (The Witches), Subterraneo and Las Formigas (The Ants)
- They want to be considered rock musicians more than Latin musicians. It was important for them that John Leckie, legendary Producer of Radiohead, The Stone Roses and Muse, produce their album and that it maintain a 'rock' feel.
- The crocodile eye on the cover of their self-titled album is a tribute to a man called Tamacun, who has dedicated his life to helping the crocodiles near Ixtapa.
Rodrigo counts off the start of 'Orion' which begins not with traditional strumming, but with Gabriela hitting the guitar and strings to establish a rhythm. Rodrigo then brings in the melody with his signature fast-picking as they kick off the set with a tribute to Metallica. The song quickly builds to a controlled frenzy caught somewhere between flamenco and rock. With Gabriela's rhythm pushing Rodrigo's melody, it's amazing to see the synergy of these two musicians with their own unique styles. Toward the end, the sound sways more to the rock side with them both pausing for a beat and then coming in together with a very classic metal riff. We're clearly in for a unique ride.
"Ixtapa is a very beautiful, very Mexican town," the two tell us, and this song reflects that feeling. The song starts off fast and upbeat with traditional Latin flavor, then soon segues into a rich, mid-tempo tune. Moving through intricate melodies, rhythmic strumming and everywhere in between, Rodrigo Y Gabriela remarkably convey the richness and diversity found in this town.
Juan Loco (Mad John) is the nickname the two have given legendary producer John Leckie. Giving new meaning to the term 'rhythm guitar,' this song starts with little traditional melody and a whole lot of what these two are known for: using their guitars in an unexpected way. Building up to a feverish pace and lost in this extended intro (it's much longer than what is on their album), they both have their eyes closed as they hit the bodies of their guitars and slide along the strings perfectly in time with each other. Finally, Rodrigo's plucking moves the song in a new direction with Gabriela slowly transitioning from percussion to strumming.
Starting off 'F.T.U.S.V.D.', Rodrigo strums a faint melody with Gabriela breaking in shortly after with her distinct percussive style. Quickly the contrast becomes a harmony and the duo push through the quick tempo with complicated synchronicity. More so than the songs we've heard thus far, this tune has the rock sound that inspired them to get together --- they even break into an interlude of the classic "Smoke on the Water." The pair pound against their guitars with Gabriela getting lost in her own world and Rodrigo head-banging along in time. The song leaves little doubt of their passion for metal riffs and hard rock.
Broke, living in a foreign country with limited English and uncertain of their future, Rodrigo Y Gabriela had a rough start to say the least. Their perseverance has propelled them through these obstacles and they have emerged with a successful career. Satori describes the Zen-like moment of enlightenment when the duo finally came through the storm of doubt and fear. The song moves through several melodic themes and different tempos, sampling from their body of work and showcasing their vast range. In keeping with the rest of their performance, each is lost in their own world yet perfectly connected to the other.
Erroroberto Piza goes by the name Tamacun and lives in the town of Ixtapa, where he takes care of the 90 wild crocodiles left in the region as if they were his children. He receives no government funding for his work and makes little or no money. Rodrigo Y Gabriela wrote this song as a tribute to this man --- they had promised him they would tell people of his love and dedication for nature.