Thursday, February 08, 2007
Artist:Ojos de Brujo
Venue:Usher Hall, Edinburgh, 7th February.
Its snowing, a girl shouts as I hit Princes Street. Two hours after I left work, two hours of traffic, and I arrive in the city with the first flakes of snow. Wrapping up as I head to the venue, looking for somewhere to grab a quick bite to eat. So that I am stuffing a sandwich in my mouth as I find that my friends have arrived there first. After the drive and a day's work, I am pretty exhausted, but with a visit to the bar, and pre-band DJ I start to relax.
Ojos de Brujo - Eyes of Wizard - are a Spanish band from Barcelona who really came to attention with their second album Bari(Joy). The self-released album mixes the traditional with the contemporary. I first heard them on Radio 5's late night World Music slot one Friday night, on the run up to the band winning an award in BBC Radio 3's World Music Awards. Since then they have appeared on television on Jools Holland's program. Following Bari with their third album Techari, which means "free" in the gypsy Calo language.
Ojos de Brujo take to the stage just after 8pm, a 10 piece band tonight. Starting with a burst of flamenco dancing from the pregnant backing singer, and building from there. Two backing singers, Panko providing turntables and electronics, Xavi and Sergio on drums/percussion, Javi on bass, Paco and Ramon play flamenco guitar, While Maxwell plays percussion and sings. Though above all, it is Marina that dominates the stage, her energetic presence central to the bands performance, lightning fast vocals that form a rhythm of their own, particularly when she is joined by Maxwell's raps.
The band play for over 2 hours. A charged mix of gypsy flamenco, with layering Spanish singing and rapping, mixing in with techno and hip hop influences. The result is pretty upbeat and infectious, meaning that it isn't long before everyone is enjoying themselves - smiling and dancing. Between songs Marina talks the audience, and the large group of Spaniards present cheers, after which Panko translates for the rest of us, explaining song titles and goading us on. The bulk of the material is familiar, the highlighs of Bari and Techari brought to life, extended and messed around with.
When the band leave the stage they go off to a roar of sound. Panko leads a handful of members of the band back on stage, who then improvise. Swapping instruments, and grinning have a bit of a carry on. Which is a fun extra, but also sums how much fun Ojos de Brujo are having on stage. When they had done another quarter hour or so, they finally left the stage and the lights went up. Heading outside I half expected to find that there had been a foot of snow while we had been listening to such heated music. But there wasn't a flake to be seen.
Ojos de Brujo - live october 2006 - Streaming recording
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