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The Sound

Guitarists Rodrigo y Gabriela set to dazzle Des Moines


Inspired by the most interesting variety of music around — nuevo flamenco, heavy metal and jazz, to name a few — international artists Rodrigo y Gabriela’s performance this Thursday at Hoyt Sherman Place shouldn’t be missed.

Musically, the Mexico City natives make no bones about where there hearts lie, however. Rock is their foundation.

“We love flamenco, but it’s not our stuff,” says lead guitarist Rodrigo Sanchez.

Tickets are on sale now ($46-$56) for the “Rodrigo y Gabriela: 9 Dead Alive” tour guest starring Madisen Ward and Mama Bear at Hoyt Sherman Place, 7:30 p.m. June 25.

Tickets are on sale now ($46-$56) for the “Rodrigo y Gabriela: 9 Dead Alive” tour guest starring Madisen Ward and Mama Bear at Hoyt Sherman Place, 7:30 p.m. June 25.

The duo began their instrumental journey more than 15 years ago, playing thrash metal because of their mutual fondness for Metallica.


“It’s very natural for us. Some people get surprised about it,” Sanchez says of the heavy rock the guitarists love to play. “But it’s where we came from.”

The band consists of just the two of them on their acoustic guitars. No lyrics, no brass, but plenty of percussion. Rodrigo y Gabriela is known for the unique sounds and rhythms they create with just two guitars.

“We are, in a way, kind of limited with two instruments, so we have to come up with different sounds and ideas,” Sanchez says.

Knowing they needed to find ways to bring guitar playing to a different level, they’ve experimented with a variety of tools, like using the back of the guitar as a drum or using glassware as a capo.

The duo also explores its sounds through customized Yamaha guitars from Japan, handcrafted with a variety of different woods.

The most distinctive sound the duo creates, though, is rhythm guitarist Gabriela Quintero’s unique percussive techniques in her strumming. Inspired by their years living in Ireland, Quintero developed a technique similar to that of the bodhrán — a Celtic drum.

No matter how diverse their styles are, Sanchez and Quintero move together to form Rodrigo y Gabriela effortlessly. Sanchez says they have such different styles of playing, that, in the end, they actually compliment each other.

Being together so long on their musical journey has helped the duo open up to a variety of experiences — such as helping to create and perform in the score of the most recent installment of “Pirates of the Caribbean” as well as the Shrek prequel “Puss in Boots”—in addition to diversifying their musical genres.

Sanchez says it’s “not only something we feel proud of, but I think it’s a good thing for music in general; that it opens up and inspires different people to play different styles.”

Coming to Des Moines for the first time, audience members should expect a unique and energetic performance.

“I expect they’ll have a good time,” Sanchez says. “It’s the whole point of [being a] musician and entertainer. We’ll have a good time, share a moment together and hopefully repeat that in the future.” CV




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