PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Ojos de Brujo: Techarí Live

Diane Hightower

This live offering cements Ojos de Brujo's reputation as one of the fieriest collectives that world music has to offer.

Ojos de Brujo

Techarí Live

Label: Six Degrees
US Release Date: 2008-02-26
UK Release Date: 2007-10-15

In the past few years, Ojos de Brujo has become one of the leading purveyors of nuevo flamenco. Audiences worldwide began to take notice of them after the release of their breakthrough sophomore album, Barí, and their subsequent 2004 tour. Their Grammy winning follow-up, Techarí, only increased their popularity among lovers of eclectic fusion. Incorporating genres of music such as bhangra, and featuring no less than 14 guests, their most exciting, sonically adventurous record to date is undeniably live album material. Recorded in their hometown on the last date of their 2006 tour, Techarí Live is an aural testament to Ojos' passion and cohesive musicality.

Charismatic singer Marina Abad's voice, which is as vibrant as her colorful, flowing clothing, takes center stage on the two Catalan rumbas, "Sultanas de Merkaíllo" and "Bailaores". The songs' vivid lyrics are bolstered by blistering solos by Cuban trumpet player Carlos Sarduy. Sarduy, who played on the original album, showcases his impressive chops much more on these extended versions of the songs, as does Cuban pianist Roberto Carcassés, who injects some salsa into the mix with his rousing piano montunos on "Bailaores".

There is an unexpected moment on the record. In my opinion, no Bob Marley song needs to be redone by anyone. Ever. The results are usually bland. Nevertheless, Ojos de Brujo have taken one of his most enduring anthems, "Get Up, Stand Up", and reworked it into a flamenco/reggae/salsa jam that is anything but with the help of Senegalese rapper Faada Freddy, who toasts dancehall style on the track. Marina sings the verses partly in English and Spanish, which may throw some listeners off, until the band chimes in with the chorus in English. That the band would feel an affinity for the song makes sense; Marley is an international symbol of freedom -- a concept that is at the core of Ojos' musical and business philosophy.

"Todo Tiende", which was captivating on the original album, is even more stunning here. Preceded by an interlude of hypnotic strains of the tabla, Marina and special guest Martirio trade subdued vocals until the refrain kicks in. Martirio then punctuates the animated vocal interplay with dramatic flamenco wailing to the delight of the audience. The bhangra/hip-hop infusion comes to a head with Marina and percussionist/vocalist Max Wright's lightning fast rapping.

Ojos de Brujo's decision to mix flamenco with so many other seemingly incongruent elements undoubtedly invites the ire of flamenco purists. However, naysayers need only take a listen to "Tanguillos Marineros" to hear their underlying respect for traditional flamenco. Here Marina declares in Spanish: "There are big and little fish / The small ones take off and leave / The big ones eat the little ones… / The small one becomes great, turns into a shark / They join the revolt, Zapata lives, Revolution / They join the revolt, Bolivar lives!" Her populist lyrics are amplified by flamenco dancer Susi's footwork and frenetic bursts of guitar by Paco Lomeña and Ramón Giménez, both of which garner appreciative cries from the crowd.

The album ends with a remix of "Nana" by Grecian group Palyrria. Although it's not live, it builds upon the mysterious original track by adding overtones of classical Arab music. The only break in this spell-binding show is the superfluous inclusion of the studio version of their "Get Up, Stand Up" cover, which is already included on another Six Degrees compilation. Despite that, it's easy to see how this Barcelona octet has gained a reputation for putting on an exuberant live show. This live album cements Ojos de Brujo's reputation as one of the fieriest collectives that world music has to offer. The group's commitment to sharing through art is evident not only in their multitude of collaborations, but also in the way they present their music. Unlike other groups that barely include lyrics with their liner notes, they usually like to include extensive artwork that visually represents their lyrics. This CD is accompanied by a DVD that contains a documentary, video diary, and music videos. One walks away with the feeling that Ojos de Brujo were not just satisfied with captivating and thrilling a hometown crowd; they wanted you to have the same visceral experience wherever you are.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 100-81

PopMatters' best albums of the 2000s begin with a series of records that span epic metal, ornate indie folk, and a terrifying work of electronic music.


The Power of Restraint in Sophie Yanow, Paco Roca, and Elisa Macellari's New Graphic Novels

The magical quality that makes or breaks a graphic novel lies somewhere in that liminal space in which art and literature intersect.


'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.


1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.


'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.


The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.


Mary Halvorson Creates Cacophony to Aestheticize on 'Artlessly Falling'

Mary Halvorson's Artlessly Falling is a challenging album with tracks comprised of improvisational fragments more than based on compositional theory. Halvorson uses the various elements to aestheticize the confusing world around her.


15 Overlooked and Underrated Albums of the 1990s

With every "Best of the '90s" retrospective comes a predictable list of entries. Here are 15 albums that are often overlooked as worthy of placing in these lists, and are too often underrated as some of the best records from the decade.


'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.


20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.


Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.


The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.


Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).


Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.


Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.


Clipping Take a Stab at Horrorcore with the Fiery 'Visions of Bodies Being Burned'

Clipping's latest album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, is a terrifying, razor-sharp sequel to their previous ode to the horror film genre.


Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.


Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.