Area 52 contains nine of Rodrigo y Gabriela's favorite songs from their own catalogue re-arranged and re-configured for a 13-piece Cuban orchestra comprised of some of Havana's finest young players, collectively known as C.U.B.A.
Produced by the legendary Peter Asher and recorded in Havana, the 2012 album is the guitar duo's first collaboration with another group and features special guests Samuel Folmell Alfonso (drums), John Tempesta (drums), Anoushka Shankar (sitar), Carles Benavent (bass), Teresa Carlota Polledo Noriega (vocals) and Le Trio Joubran (oud).
What started out as simply an orchestral retrospective has become an entirely new Rodrigo y Gabriela album, one that showcases an even more startling range of musicianship. In sum, this album expands the very definition of musical collaboration.
Tunes such as Tamacun may seem over-worked (after all, it appeared on their debut set, then on two of their live albums) but here it is transformed thanks to the tight, attacking brass work. Elsewhere there's a salsa-flavoured treatment of Hanuman, and a new version of Ixtapa that eases from Spain to India (thanks to a fine solo from Shankar) and on to Cuban jazz. Then there's the slow and drifting Logos, helped by the bass work of Spain's flamenco and jazz virtuoso Carles Benavent, and a treatment of 11:11 that switches from Pink Floyd-influenced guitar work to Cuban folk song. An impressive departure - just when it was needed.
- Limited Edition
- Red & Blue Splatter Vinyl
- Double LP
- Remastered for vinyl by John Webber at AIR Studios, London
- Gatefold sleeve
- Santo Domingo (feat. Samuel Folmell Alfonso on drums)
- Hanuman (feat. John Tempesta on drums)
- Ixtapa (feat. Anoushka Shankar on sitar)
- 11:11 (feat. Carles Benavent on bass and Teresa Carlota Polledo Noriega on vocals)
- Master Maqui (feat. Le Trio Joubran on ouds)
- Diablo Rojo
- Juan Loco (feat. Carles Benavent on bass)
- Tamacun (feat. John Tempesta on drums)