© KLRU photo by Scott Newton

Rodrigo y Gabriela with C.U.B.A.

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Rodrigo y Gabriela Season 38 by Jared Connor

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photo by Leslie Nichols

With their thrilling and dynamic hybrid of metal, Latin and jazz, guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela have become an international sensation with their flawless live performances. For their debut Austin City Limits performance, they are backed by C.U.B.A., a 6-piece Cuban orchestra with whom they recorded their latest record Area 52.

Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero first met in Mexico City while playing together in a thrash metal band. Frustrations with their local music scene soon spurred them to relocate to Europe, where their fast and rhythmic style helped the duo achieve a cult following after playing numerous pubs and bars. Their 2006 release, Rodrigo y Gabriela, entered the Irish Albums Chart at No.1, helping the duo gain international exposure. Their “exotic instrumental brilliance” (Billboard) shone through on 2009′s 11:11, leading to even more popularity in the U.S. The Independent praised the band’s unique style by stating, “Rodrigo y Gabriela’s secret is maybe quite simple. They are resourceful musicians, and are open-hearted, happy entertainers. That, very often, is what people want.”

Area 52 was released in January 2012 and is their first album featuring backing musicians. The “groundbreaking and mind-boggling” (Q) album includes performances from C.U.B.A. and others who have helped the duo re-create versions of songs that have appeared on their previous albums. BBC says that the guitar pieces “are allowed space to breathe by lighter salsa-style backing,” while Paste writes Area 52 “pushes the duo into the realm of a salsa club with even faster rhythms and Cuban-influenced beats.”

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