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Flamenco Forward

The two discs are different in style. Vengue has upbeat numbers like Vacileo, with rumba and intricate Latin sounds moving in and out of each other. Rumba Dub Style has fluttering Eastern European brass, while Indian tabla moves the ballad Palabras blancas along. They draw on flamenco's roots and diaspora: India, the Mediterreanean, North Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, adding in an eclectic mix of Latin, ragga, reggae, rap, hip-hop, scratch and looped sounds. On Bari, however, flamenco underpins everything. It's like flamenco passing through the prism of the sounds and preoccupations of the modern city. Bari is more homogenous, more flamenco-hip-hop, a cohesive move forwards.

Ojos De Brujo
On Vengue, the main singer was Dani 'el mono loco' (literally 'The Crazy Ape'), also lead singer with Macaco. Dani's in demand as a record producer and Macaco's latest disc took off in 2002 when Bari was being recorded. As he and the others who were involved in both groups could not clone themselves, the collective were forced to make some pragmatic decisions. Ojos de Brujo now consist of: Marina, Juanlú, Ramón, Antonio, Xavi Turull, DJ Panque, Beto.

Marina's female lead definitely shifts both sound and image. Where did she get her flamenco? "Each of us has a story to tell. I'm not Andaluz, yet flamenco, from deep song to rumba, was in my home through my mother. Since I was little I have had this preoccupation with it, singing, learning, listening, going to gigs. In Valencia we created this group of singers and dancers to enjoy ourselves and learn the compás, the rhythms of the palos, the forms. Then I was in this theatre group Aguita Troupe, 11 women involved in playing with the stereotypes women have to face, like always got to look good, be beautiful. Through dance, theatre and music we worked to reveal real emotions, doing lots of street performances, a lot of it using flamenco. Then I was in Formentera singing around different bars with a guitarist, and Juanlú and some of the others heard me and they took me to this car and played me this cassette and I just flipped out. It was something I did not think anyone was doing, so I came to Barcelona. Ojos de Brujo - it's like a present life has given me - that's what it has been like. Life brought us all together."

This feature first appeared in fRoots 237, March 2003


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