Rodrigo y Gabriela?

I dunno. I Just don’t really get it.

Rodrigo y Gabriela pic

Yes, I saw them live years ago when I was at the Mexican ambassador’s Mexican National Day party, but listening to their albums, I just don’t get it. It’s Latin-tinged elevator music, no? Take ‘New One’ from Re-foc for example – is this not easy-listening? File alongside Yanni and Panpipe Crapola.

So, unlike the population of Ireland which has sent their latest album to number one, they leave me cold. And a cover of ‘Stairway To Heaven’? Jaysus…… and indeed, yawn,….

If you fancy some Latin stuff which isn’t bland, try Nortec Collective – a group of Mexican electronica artists who genuinely innovate or MIS (Mexican Institute of Sound), who do interesting things with samples.

Thing is, Mexican music is a bit like Irish, post-colonial and apologetic. Alas, Mexico has a huge tradition of mawkish sentimentalism of the Juan Gabriel type (he’s like Cliff Richard merged with Daniel O’Donnell) as well as USA pop imitations (Flans, Paulina Rubio, etc) and it’s difficult to find the good stuff. In Ireland, we can see all sorts of groovy shit emerging; Julie Feeney, Bell X1, Joe Chester… peole who are messing about with genre and expectations -not doing covers of – yawn – ‘Stairway To Heaven’. Why not have a whack at Bohemian Rhapsody while you’re at it? Oh wait, that’s been done by G4. I rest my case.

Of course Juan Gabriel, el Mejicano mas grande, is a big poof, but that’s convieniently overlooked by the masses yet satirised by the narrow-minded. Flans et al are just total queso, but interesting stuff such as that by Morbo and Nortec Collective are marginalised back in Mejico as the indigenous audience are more interested in either super-saccharine Disney shite or American imitations.

Rodrigo y Gabriela to me seem to be the equivalent to rather accomplished purveyors of panpipes: it’s all technically very good, but rather unadventurous and ultimately rather boring. A bit like Celine Dion.

God, I love music so much, I am a little surprised that I write so vehemently about any artist, but R y G produce such aural wallpaper that it makes me angry that they are so sucessful in Ireland. If I had any kind of musical talent, as these two obviously do, I’d be making such fucked up cross-cultural exciting shit! Why do they have to be so polite and, well, boring?

Am I being harsh? Am I being a bit too Sunday Independent?



  1. Brian

    You are being harsh but you do have a point. I always say the acid test is whether or not you listen to album. I have Re-foc and for the last few years its been gathering dust on the shelf. A couple of the songs sound perfect for a tv travel program, not terribly stimulating. Another album I rarely play is the Flaming Lips ‘Yoshimi’ I just don’t really get them anymore.
    Am I allowed recommend anything? Listening to LD & The New Criticism’s Tragic realism now. It’s enjoyable, more of LD’s viscious revengeful ballads. He has a full sound on this record, bassoon, viola, xylophone, accordion, banjo. Too old to die young is a duet with Shirley Simms, another song features the full-gospel tabernacle choir of Bushwick. It’s hilarious in places and the songs really do stand up.

  2. eguinan

    God i really went off one there! I was listening to the radio and some dj played their version of Stairway to heaven and I got all bothered! They’re harmless; I’m just venting!

    Anyway, you’ve told me of the wonderful LD but I have yet to hear a track to sample. Have you seen this site Subtle hint lol!

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