Ojos de Brujo made a lot of friends in the UK during 2003, playing a magnificent set at WOMAD which featured in the televised covereage and reached a wider audience that way. They have attracted a lot of favourable coverage in The Guardian, The Observer and other publications and, I think, even won an award in the Radio 3 world music awards.
Well, thats the hype which may make a few curious people look them up on Amazon and get this far, but is the music going to satisfy? You may already have heard about the blend of traditional flamenco and hip hip, and anyone who has heard Manu Chao will know how well that can work, but for me the most important mixture is that of technical skill and energy. In this respect Ojos de Brujo are again similar to Manu Chao, in that the skill transfers better to a studio album than the energy does.
Anyone who has seen this band live might be a little disappointed that it is not as 'sweaty' as they remember - but that is OK: there are bands who show their real selves in the studio and other bands who shine most on stage. That is not to say that this is a bad record, in fact it is a magnificent record, showing that you do not need to crank up a stck of marshalls to make a guitar really work, and you do not need to understand a lyric to be hypnotised by it.
Like a lot of modern Mediterranean music, the influences of North African rhythms are noticeable, maybe this was always the case, but I only notice it now that both African and European music are easier to find in Britain?
Anyway, it does look like there is now a lot more reason to visit Barcelona these days: by all means marvel at the Gaudi architecture and take the tour of the Nou Camp, but spend the evenings looking for the clubs where music like this is being conjured up. And in the meantime have a listen to this CD and the two Manu Chao ones which are available together as a reasonably-priced set.
on 2 August 2005
OK, maybe it's a farfetched simile, but somehow Bari sounds like an elaborate musical version of a Barcelona graffiti mural. It gives you that same feel of the gritty glamour of Las Ramblas, mixing what to my Nordic ears sounds like straightforward flamenco with hip hop and dub. The result brims with the lust for life that made fellow Barcelones Mano Chao's Ultima Ola such a sleeper hit, though the influences here are less eclectic.
Lead singer Marilla's endearing flamenco croak tells stories of the alegria and malegria of life over the sort of sweaty, spontaneous beats that are best appreciated live. "When you're feeling lost, then listen to a rumba and dance, dance, dance", she sings on the dynamite Ventilador R-80 (or at least I think she does) for instance. It's advice Bari makes you want to head. Suddenly you've got ants in your pants and want to go out dancing till dawn instead of sitting at home moping to your Radiohead CDs.
Other standout tracks are the opener Tiempo De Soleá, where the drama mounts joyously to its conclusion, and the riotous Quien Engaña No Gana with its stiletto-sharp handclaps.
on 29 October 2003
That's what I thought as I stumbled on this band playing a blistering set at WOMAD this year... Given, my spanish is less than elementary, and on first impressions their fusion flamenco style was somewhat hard-edged, there is much to be found underneath.
Seriously good twin guitar work, a subtley brilliant bass man, fluid funky drums and percussion, and the lead lady's voice, that, like the album, work it's way into your conscienceness till you find yourself (trying to) sing along and pre-empting those oh-so-tight rhythmic stabs...
Best moment (at present time) is track no.7 'Ley de Gravedad' (?), a gorgeous piece that is just perfect in it's musical genius shines through in simplicity (think Dave Matthews Band's 'let you down'), in a way that very few bands seem to be able to do...
Even the odd fella doing the rolf harris impression doesn't serve to tarnish this wonderful recording.
This is what this country needs, a bit of life in it's music, even if we can't do it ourselves...
on 2 April 2004
This is one of the best albums I have heard for a long time. Its mixture of rythms and sounds is astonishing, from Flamenco to hip hop but ALL MIXED TOGETHER!!! You are missing out on a real world music revolution if you don't give it a go!
on 19 April 2008
Flamenco has always been a bit of a puzzle for me: highly attractive when sprinkled here and there, usually rebuting when in its normal form. I know there is flamenco I would want to know of but never got the proper introduction.
Ojos de Brujo (trasnlates as Wizzard's eyes) made my lazy quest simple ... and beautiful. Mixing their main Flamenco ingredient with fantastic bass playing, scratch, hip hop, punk rock energy, electornics, topped up with the totally impeccable voice of their female singer and you have a totally winning album.
Make no mistake this is NOT watered-down flamenco, nor is it straight-up Flamenco. For a musically aware generation of music lovers this is the perfect fusion - in a sin frontera world with just the right amount of local roots melded with global beats.
on 7 March 2007
I went to see these guys at a gig in Islington a few years ago and they were fantastic. A crazy melting pot of musical styles (hip-hop, flamenco, Latin, North-African and more) and ideas, all delivered with incredible energy and musical skill, all of which is reflected in this album.
on 26 November 2003
This album is one of those albums that you just can't stop listening to. I have no idea what the lyrics are about because they are in spanish and I don't speak spanish! Each track has a mix of influences that I think will appeal to more than just spanish style music lovers. Great music to listen to loud through headphones and equally able to provide great background music. A must have for all music lovers. Buy it, you wont be dissapointed....
on 2 February 2004
Just brilliant. Saw them at WOMAD 2003 and had one of the most exciting and sublime experiences of my musical life. Wonderful energy. Fantastic use of instrument and voice. Real quality.
on 29 November 2003
Fantastic album, with a really great blend of classic flamenco and spanish guitar traditions, mixed in with all sorts of other genres. Really entertaining to listen to, despite not understanding any of the words. Even more entertaining to try to dance to- It will make you want to move.
on 9 February 2004
was gonna rate this album 3/5 rather than 4/5 since i tend to be very choosy with what i consider a a very good album, a 5/5 can rarely b awarded nowadays. anyway, i have seen these guys live at the 2002 womad festival. great artists play at womad, yet that years ojos de brujo was one of the few names i always remembered without jotting down.
very impressive in concert.
1st time i ever heard something so spanish, yet so fusion and not sounding tinny or discopub style.
very genuine, captures song, beats, percussion, a bit of tribal and ofcourse...flamenco.
must enjoy such genres of music though, if u do...this is a must!