Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Rodrigo y Gabriella—a Rothbury discovery

By Andrea Moreno-Beals

The best part of any festival is discovering a fantastic new artist or band that you have never heard before. I had such an experience when I stumbled upon the main stage set by Latin jazz rock fusion duo Rodrigo y Gabriella.

I had just finished listening to what had been up to that point the highlight of my Rothbury weekend — folkly bluesman Taj Mahal. How could it get any better than sitting in the first row right in front of an artist I have loved for years but had never seen live. And he played many of my favorite songs of his that I had been hoping to hear.

When Taj finished up, I wandered over to the main stage to see what was going on there, and sheer amazement rapidly spread over me with every step as I approached Rodrigo y Gabriella's show.

At first I couldn't believe they had booked just two guitar players on the main stage, especially since they didn't seem to be playing any kind of rock n' roll. Soon I realized that they weren't singing either.

It was all instrumental music that they were playing, and yet they had a huge crowd of thousands of people in front of them ecstatically moving to the rapid and invigorating rhythms of their flamenco-style arrangements. The energy was infectious. It was like they were the source of a huge wild fire that had spread over the field full of people.

For the first time that weekend, I was taken out of time and place by the music I was hearing — transported to that place of sheer joy and inspiration that only a live music experience can send you. Bravo for an unforgettable festival experience.

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