Rodrigo y Gabriela Return to Their Roots

Rodrigo Gabriela  jim_mimna

Guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela are visiting Perth at the end of the month to play at the West Coast Blues and Roots Festival. OUTinPerth spoke to member Rodrigo Sanchez about touring, street performing and making it big.

“We’ve been to Australia probably like 5 times and probably to Perth a couple already. Probably a couple of times before.” Sanchez said.

“We’re very happy always to go back to Australia.”

The duo spent eight years honing their craft in Dublin, and have taken their music around the world. Sanchez said their music attracts a varied crowd. “We have very young guys going with- sometimes with their grandfathers, you know. So it’s good to see metal heads among jazz, hippie. It’s a very eclectic crowd all over.”

The music of Rodrigo y Gabriela has made various appearances in pop culture. They’ve contributed to the soundtrack for ‘Puss in Boots’ and written original music for the score of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’. Sanchez shared some wisdom about working on film scores.

“We did a couple of big soundtracks and it was interesting because it’s a different way to work. You just have to do whatever the producers are asking for, really. You are not that kind of free to do whatever you want but that’s what it’s all about… I think it’s a mix of how they perceive the scene or whatever is taking place in the picture. Music and then they do whatever they want. They edit and then they destroy the music a little bit. I guess it goes well with the picture, you know?

Having worked on blockbusters, Sanchez said he’d be keen to try his hand at independent films.

“We haven’t done any independents. Apart from the fact that those are the ones that pretty much they take the music you’ve already done, because they don’t have the budget as well, right? I would be happy to work on something that I like whether I get a lot of money or not, it doesn’t matter. In this case I would like to work on something independent that I really like to work on.”

Rodrigo y Gabriela have performed everywhere from the Sydney Opera House to the White House for Barack Obama. However, Sanchez said they are just as excited to perform at festivals as they are for glamorous venues.

“It doesn’t matter where you play, what matters is really, what happens at that moment, the moment in the show where you are supposed to share this thing with whoever is in front of you. It’s beautiful to play those rooms but it’s beautiful to play in a festival full of hippies. We understand that it’s really about having a good time. It’s not about the two or five or whoever is onstage. I mean, yeah you have that thing but at least we are not, or we don’t want to be part of the kind of artists that think that everything surrounds their lives. We try to interact with people because we think that if we didn’t love them we wouldn’t be there.”

Rodrigo y Gabriela know a thing or two about connecting with their audience. They spent a number of their formative musical years performing on the streets of Europe.

“No doubt it was the best school. There is a reason why, here in Europe, busking is part of the actual learning experience when they are in classical schools. The schools send the kids to play in the streets in summertime. So I think it’s a good tradition, it’s great to do it, in Mexico that is not very common, and it looks like you’re a beggar, but we went to Europe it was like ‘Ok, this is so cool. We can do this, and we get enough money for what we want, what we need.’

“Especially when you are young and you are doing this travelling around. I mean if you have that thing, you can play music, and you have some kind of art form you can share with people, it’s the best thing… People give you money. They stop because they really understand what you’re doing. We felt very very very thankful with everyone that gave us a penny because I mean they kind of kept us there and they kept the project growing somehow. We had enough to survive and to keep going. We always will be thankful with those guys.”

Rodrigo y Gabriela will be playing at the West Coast Blues and Roots Festival on Sunday March 29th. Tickets available from

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