Album review: Rodrigo y Gabriela and C.U.B.A. - Area 52

The whirlwind guitar-pickers give their erstwhile material a lush Caribbean makeover. But is this more a colourful, mild evolution than any sort of revolution.

The million-selling, rapid-fire Mexican acoustic duo have teamed up with 13-strong Cuban orchestra and guests from all over the globe for their latest album, a reworking of material from their debut record and their most recent, 11:11.

C.U.B.A. are enlisted to move Rod’n’Gab’s impressively passionate, thrusting and intricate music on a bit for studio album number five, after recent forays into added instrumentation.

So we have Indian sitar from Anoushka Shankar and Palestinian oud virtuosos Le Trio Joubran thrown into a crowded but exhilarating and deftly-arranged mix.

Die-hard fans will lap this up unquestioningly and newbies will be invigorated by what is an undeniably classy set, lacing their guitar with salsa and Cuban jazz. But this is more a glossy embellishment than wholesale reinvention.

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3 stars

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