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Rodrigo Y Gabriela


Easily the musical highlight of my weekend at Latitude was seeing Rodrigo Y Gabriela for the first time. It's hard to describe what exactly they do as it's not only breathtaking and a wonder to behold live, but something you have to experience to fully understand and appreciate. Having said that, their eponymous album is an incredible piece of work (especially considering it was largely recorded live), and well worth the buy. As you'd expect, the pair's website gives the best description of their sound:

"Rodrigo (Sanchez) and Gabriela (Quintero) are two fast-fingered, Dublin-based, Mexicans with a unique sound created on acoustic guitars. Their music is difficult to define, straddling both world and rock, and often imbued with timeless Hispano – classical influences. The fire in it comes from their life-long passion for metal music. This spring, "Rodrigo y Gabriela," beat both the Arctic Monkeys AND Johnny Cash to number one in the Irish charts.

Rodrigo is a deft finger-picker who can move from raging speed to sensual soul in the space of a fret, while Gabriela employs fast, rhythmic techniques. Her percussionist's thrashing of strings and drumming of the instrument's body inevitably raises comparisons with flamenco – which they acknowledge as an influence but swerve as a pigeonhole. The duo's repertoire flies beyond familiar Latin folk guitarists' styles because of the metal connection: their reworkings of Led Zep's "Stairway to Heaven" and Metallica's "Orion" are musts, and the presence, on "Ixtapa", of the fiery Hungarian gypsy violinist, Roby Lakatos, is inspirational."

I urge you to give it a listen, or if you get the chance, go and see them live. You won't regret it. Incredible stuff.

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About the Author

Welcome to the website of the English poet and critic, Ben Wilkinson.
Ben was born in Staffordshire and now lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. He received his first degree from the University of Sheffield, and holds an MA and PhD from Sheffield Hallam University. He has won numerous awards for his poetry, including the Poetry Business Competition and a 2014 Northern Writers' Award
His debut full collection of poems, Way More Than Luck, appeared from Seren Books in February 2018.
He is a keen distance runner, lifelong Liverpool Football Club fan, and among other things he works as poetry critic for The Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement. You can find many of his reviews on this site.
To contact Ben about readings, workshops, or for any other enquiries, you can drop him a line at benwilko(at sign)gmail.com. Unfortunately, I am not able to consider unsolicited requests from authors for book reviews.

You can follow Ben on Twitter - @BenWilko85 - and on Facebook.

You can find B…