Rodrigo y Gabriela got their start playing heavy metal, but eventually ditched their amplifiers to form their unique acoustic sound. The duo burst onto the world music scene with their third album, 2006’s Rodrigo y Gabriela. Their pulsating guitar work accompanied with chopping strums have electrified audiences everywhere. For their latest record, Area 52, Rodrigo y Gabriela decided to take a different approach in the studio. Recorded entirely in Havana with a 13-piece Cuban ensemble collectively known as C.U.B.A., Area 52 features nine of the group’s favorite original songs rearranged for orchestral performance. In addition to C.U.B.A., Carles Benavent, Anoushka Shankar, Samuel Formell, Carlota Teresa Polledo Noriega, John Tempesta and Le Trio Joubran lend a hand on the record.
Rodrigo y Gabriela’s compositions paired with these full band arrangements are outstanding. They have adapted the songs to serve as a jumping off point to explore the dynamic sound of the band. The tunes are so full of twists and turns, you can’t help but be surprised when you listen to them. Be sure to check out the fantastic trailer for Area 52. Take a listen to “Juan Loco” below to hear the amazing work the group has done to expand their sound outside of the acoustic duo setting. The group will set off on a European and North American tour with C.U.B.A this Spring. You won’t want to miss it.