By Ojos de Brujo
Ojos de Brujo, or wizard eyes in English, are one of the most important bands on the world music scene bridging the gaps between genres in ways mainstream artists can only dream of. They have won many prestigious BBC World Music awards and are nominated for the European artist award for next year's event. The album itself is the collective's first live album from their homeland of Spain and documents what they have achieved so far in their career. In a CD/DVD combination the magic of the live show is brought to life.
Having listened to recorded material from the original Techari album there are noticeable and better adaptations for the stage as is clearly evident when watching the DVD. The original album featured big name guest stars such as Nitin Sawhney and Prithpal Rajput of Asian Dub Foundation distinctly giving it a nudge in the eastern tonal traditions in particular the ragas of India.
The opener 'Respira' gets the magic rolling with its driving afro-beat flamenco feel to it and with a DJ solo which lets him go wild with scratching. The vocals act as a percussive instrument and it amazes me how lead singer Marina can put a large string of exotic Spanish sounds and words at such a fast rate. The obvious disadvantage here is not knowing what the songs are about having no knowledge of Spanish apart form 'hola' and 'paella' which really won't get me anyway apart from the nearest tapas restaurant.
The what now seems to be mandatory cover version for the gig is an interesting choice, a Spanish style version of Bob Marley classic 'Get Up Stand Up' of which we are treated to a live and studio version on the CD. This arrangement shows the streak of rebellion which runs as the ethos for the group with the album itself meaning 'free'.
Runali is more of a tender moment for the band as the vocal presentation makes out some kind of distress about a girl as we get a brief spurt of English saying 'Runalí, she corrects me when I'm wrong Runalí, she inspires me the harmonies to sing that song Runalí you are the angel that watches over me Permanently along with me you're always there for me'.
The stand out track on this album definitely is 'Todo Tiende' which starts with a 1 minute 16 second table solo which is mind blowing and then we get into a new version of Ojos de Brujo's best song combining their brand of flamenco funk with Indian raga. There is a guest star that is made a big fuss of on the DVD but frankly I don't know who she is but she looks partially like Nana Mouskouri and she loves to throat warble if that's any help. The track embodies the true spirit of world music with its tongue twister lyrics and excellent musicianship with the ability to amaze when you watch the DVD especially when you see how effortlessly the musicians play.
To sum up this album a collection of the groups best numbers has been compiled into an astounding live show to hear and watch but there is one flaw that being that a lot of the songs sound the same with repetitive themes but don't let it put you off this album. In preference watching the DVD works better than listening to it as it is seeing how the music is produced that makes this collection special.