Thursday, February 22, 2007


Posted on Thu, Feb 22, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Label: Diquela
Length: LP
Release Date: 2006-03-20
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Techarí

By naming their latest release Techarí, or 'free� in the Gypsy dialect Caló, Barcelona's neo-flamenco musical cooperative Ojos de Brujo (Wizard's Eyes) summed up the essence of its latest release with one word. The clan's third album is more stylistically ambitious, sleeker and bolder than its predecessor, Bari. On it Ojos de Brujo intensifies the sonic transfusions in their signature crossbreeding of flamenco guitar patterns with disparate otherworldly textures. While most of the tracks are spellbinding and edgy, a few get tangled up in an messy hodgepodge of sound. The opener, 'Color,� is a flamenco funk assault complete with buoyant brass licks, energetic drum kit, syncopated clapping, stomping and turntable antics.

Techarí continues the group's custom of inviting guest musicians from exotic locales. On 'Todo Tiende,� Asian Dub Foundation's drummer, Prithpal 'Cyber� Rajput, plays the dhol, a percussion instrument used in the festive bhangra music from India's Punjab region, while Senegalese rap trio Daara J injects sub-Saharan hip-hop flavor on 'Runalí.� Since part of the album was mixed in Cuba, Ojos de Brujo, whose newest member is Cuban trumpeter Carlitos Sarduy, made sure to enlist additional Cuban talent in the studio. Cuban pianist Roberto Carcassés makes an appearance alongside respected flamenco guitarist Pepe Habichuela on 'Feedback.� And lead singer Marina 'la Canillas� Abad's versatility allows her to swiftly navigate between cante jondo and rapid-fire rap anchored by socially conscious lyrics. On 'Silencio,� a blend of rumba and drum & bass, Abad's ululating voice is complemented by Arabic instrumental embellishments. Self-managed, promoted, produced and marketed, Ojos de Brujo's nomadic musical tendencies and knack for improvisation embody the gypsy way of life. The Cuban percussion thrown into a bulería, the dash of funk added to the rumba Catalana, and the soothing blend of reggae inserted into a tanguillo are like sundry scraps collected here and there by a caravan of gypsies living and breathing art on the fringes of society. Once all the layers fall under the wizard's spell the effect is bewitchingly harmonious.


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