A pair of former heavy metal guitarists who left Mexico for Ireland, Rodrigo y Gabriela developed an acoustic sound that has taken the duo from playing on the streets for change to some of the biggest stages on the festival circuit. Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero joined NPR's Arun Rath in the studio at NPR West to perform a few selections from their latest album, 9 Dead Alive. Hear the music, and their conversation, at the audio link.
Rodrigo y Gabriela plays everything from heavy metal to jazz to acoustic folk. The duo started out in a thrash-metal band in Mexico City, but moved to Dublin in 1999. From Ireland, its inventive instrumental music spread to the U.K., then to Europe and the U.S. before finally finding its way back to Mexico. Rodrigo y Gabriela's big break came in 2006, when the pair's self-titled debut topped the Irish charts.
It's a Monday night at an old movie theater that's been renovated into a nightclub in the heart of Mexico City. Rodrigo y Gabriela are on stage with their signature nylon-string acoustic guitars. Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero are from here. They started playing music together in Mexico City as teenagers in a thrash-metal band in the 1990s. But more than a decade ago, they went off to Europe to busk in the streets.