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Rodrigo y Gabriela 9 Dead Alive (Rubyworks Records)

After 2012's Area 52, a collaboration with a host of world musicians that saw Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero record new versions of work from their previous three albums, the Mexican instrumental duo return to basics:

face to face, in a recording studio in their home base of Ixtapa, with an acoustic guitar each. Taking a conceptual lead from 2009's 11:11, on which each composition was dedicated to a different musical influence, they've come up with this nine-song set dedicated to eight historical figures they admire. Of these, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Eleanor of Aquitane will be relatively familiar though the others are more obscure. Do Google as you listen, though: standout track Misty Moses takes on an added dimension when you read about the woman it's dedicated to, African-American abolitionist and former slave Harriet Tubman, who ran an "underground railway" bringing escaped slaves out of the south during the American Civil War.

Barry Didcock

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Arts and Entertainment

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