Rodrigo Y Gabriela: Rodrigo Y Gabriela 

Some time ago, cast upon rain-slicked asphalt, I noticed a discarded green tea bag tagged with a quote from Da Vinci. According to him, "When the soul does not work through the hands, then there is no Art." I'm fairly certain that deceased and living legends of the throat like Sam Cooke or Ann Wilson wouldn't hesitate in telling Da Vinci what he could do with such sentimental arrogance. However, after I read that, nary a plastic pick has stroked a single note on my acoustic guitar. Instead, I've chosen to pursue carpal-tunnel syndrome by exclusively using my fingers. After having to virtually relearn the guitar, I now feel a healthy pride in my tenuous ability to use all 10 ten fingers to make the noise I like.

There is something truly satisfying in such an organic approach to an instrument. Others who play this way know the score: You just feel closer to it. Anyway, no matter how close (or whatever) I think I might be with my guitar, I will likely never play anything near the abso-effing-lutely insane chops on Rodrigo Y Gabriela. Shred is what these two flamenco flamethrowers do. Raised on a dignified pedigree of thrash metal and the ancient mariachi style, Rodrigo (all leads and rhythm) and Gabriela (rhythm and percussion) busked the streets of Mexico, Denmark and Spain for years to eventually achieve superstar success in Ireland (?!). This is their third album and the second to hit big in Ireland.

Rodrigo Y Gabriela is for anyone who can train his or her attention toward Latin instrumental music that will uncover exciting and fresh layers with each repeated listen. If you're a musician, especially if you're a guitarist, then listen closely to "Diablo Rojo" and know it's time to get busy. And for steel-driven credibility, there are two outstanding covers: Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven" and Metallica's masterwork "Orion." Throw down that 10 bucks and consider your senses blown.

--Justin Peterson

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