Ojos de Brujo - Bari
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Ojos de Brujo
World Village (www.worldvillagemusic.com)

cd cover This debut recording by Spain's Ojos de Brujo (The Sorcerer's Eyes) is a satisfying encounter between traditional flamenco and modern musical influences in which everyone, especially the listener, wins. The basic instrumental lineup features multiple flamenco guitars, hand percussion, clapping, and electric bass, often supplemented by intuitive scratches and samples. The center of attention is inevitably the sly, strong voice of Marina "la Canillas" (long and slender) Abad, expressive on straightforward melody, outstanding on a rap-infused staccato delivery, and especially on intricate dialogs with herself and male singer Macaco MonoLoco. Production achieves the nirvana of transparency, deploying all elements to best effect, never drawing attention to itself.

A brief "Intro," featuring calm claps and flamenco guitar, Abad's voice double-tracked in harmony, segues seamlessly into "Tiempo de Soleá," electric bass providing a quiet drive, Abad rendering the vocal line almost as talking blues, lyrics delivered conversationally yet melodically, frequently electronically processed. On "Ventilaor R-80," the beat is quicker, processed vocal scat accentuating rhythm, Abad's vocal accompanied by MonoLoco's, with the message: might as well dance! The rhythm on "Naita" is medium speed, driven by bass and rapidly-strummed flamenco guitar, with a catchy, serpentine melody, and accelerates to double-time near the end with the vocal waxing hip-hop conversational, but ever tightly arranged, not a note misplaced. "Quien Engaña no Gana" is intriguing, an ominous, tabla-inflected, techno-looped take on flamenco, Abad engaging in melodic dialog with herself, aided by MonoLoco's baritone, vocal dynamics ranging from assertive to conspiratorially whispered.

"Zambra" is the best, most complex track on Barí. It begins with deliberate dramatic guitar chords, accelerating into a driving beat, augmented by intense percussion and synthesized keyboards, the first few vocal verses pretty and lilting, blossoming at the center of the track into an exciting, in-your-face declamation, flamenco rap, followed by an anti-climactic break with violin and guitar solos, overlapping exercises in Indian vocal percussion, and a guitar riff reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix's "Third Stone from the Sun," a track that keeps you on the edge of your seat each time you hear it. You'll be needing a break about now, and "Lay de Gravidad" provides it with an almost Brazilian coolness, pursued mostly by fingerpicked guitar and Abad's vocals. On "Tanguillo de Maria," rolling batá drums and crowd sounds introduce a calm 3/4 time vocal melody, tastefully augmented by scratches, the beat speeding into quick common time on the closing chorus, Abad's vocal once again engaging in an internal dialog more complex than call-response.

The attached booklet contains lyrics in Spanish and English, as well as some attractive artwork and live performance photos. - Jim Foley

Read Marty Lipp's interview with the band.

CD available at cdRoots

The band's web site: www.ojosdebrujo.com

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