Latin craziness, live and direct!
Sophie Bruce 2007
Techarí Live, the new album from Barcelonians Ojos de Brujo, sets expectations high. It’s a live concert disc of their hit album Techarí recorded in their home town, on the final night of their 2006 tour, three days before Christmas. On paper it has epic written all over it, and it doesn’t disappoint.
This is technically the sixth album from the eight piece collective (their name translates into English as ‘wizard’s eyes’) - although like two before it’s a reworked version of a previous album.
So what do you get for your money? Lots of flamenco guitar, some bongo drums and a sprinkling of piano. Marina’s vocals are often brilliantly, mind-blowingly fast; like on track nine “Todo Tiende”. Their hip-hop flamenco style boasts a very varied range – lyrics in Spanish, Greek and English, Indian vibes and a Romany album title (meaning ‘free’). You can see why a previous reviewer labelled their sound ‘an eclectically brilliant gipsy stew’.
The album benefits from being a concert recording – the set list was clearly designed to thrill a crowd. It opens with a bang (“Respira” or ‘It Breathes’) and closes with the epic “Nana”, though the highlight for many will be track three - an outstanding cover of Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up”. OdB have reworked it so that the original reggae essence benefits from a spicy helping of flamenco salsa.
Mind you, for such a flamenco-heavy album, there is a good degree of variety in the songs. Some, like “Piedras Contra Tanques”, zing with energy and frenzied pace. Conversely
“No Somos Máquinas” (‘We Are Not Machines’) has such a gorgeously lazy start it could almost be lounge music – albeit that of a very funky cocktail bar. And “Todo Tiende” is the ultimate in sultry chill-out.
It’s easy to see why the original album earned the band a Latin Grammy nomination. And with a DVD of the live performance included, there’s not a lot to dislike. OdB’s vibes are so far from Ricky Martin that even staunch Latin sceptics might find their feet unconsciously tapping out a flamenco on the floor. Porqué no escuchar?