Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ojos de Brujo in London

Towards the end of Ojos de Brujo's exhilarating two-hour show, the keyboardist, speed-rapper and translator DJ Panko told the non-Spanish half of the audience that the singer Marina had said something to the effect that "Tanguillo de Maria" "is very, very happy song for you". That could have applied to virtually any of the Barcelona band's relentless set. Many of their songs are overtly political, but the vibe is always up.

Marina, with her locks bound tight in an orange head-wrap, antique clothes and scarlet feather boa, looked like the Rastafarian offspring of Frida Kahlo. She ran around the stage, singing every song with the same throaty intensity.

Her melodies have a Spanish heart of darkness, but then an Arabic twist or Indian flourish lifts them to another level. She was flanked by two flamenco guitarists, a drummer, two percussionists and a bass player, plus any number of bit players, including a male flamenco dancer. The musicians gave the impression of racing each other to the end of each song, rather than simply playing it.
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