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Techari

Techari

Out of cosmopolitan Barcelona comes one of the most exciting new world fusion bands. Ojos de Brujo (Eyes of Wizard) call their music ‘jiphop flamenquillo’ but this flamenco hip-hop base serves only as a platform to launch into a plethora of musical genres. On their third album *Techarí* (‘freedom’ in Caló, a Gypsy language), their sound is more eclectic than ever. On a rigorous flamenco instrumental core, Ojos fuses hip-hop, bhangra, acid jazz, Arabic, reggae and even heavy metal rhythms and harmonies. Thanks to exceptionally talented musicians, a wonderfully tight rhythm section that includes a human beat box and Indian vocal percussions, and a flamboyant performance from singer Marina la Canillas, these wired minstrels pull it off brilliantly. Growing recognition has also helped Ojos recruit guests such as guitar legend Pepe Habichuela, Cyber from Asian Dub Foundation, Senegalese rapper Faada Freddy, Nitin Sawhney and Cuban pianist Roberto Carcassés. And while flamenco’s lyrics usually focus on the joy and suffering of life, Ojos’ are refreshingly politicized, dealing with issues of social justice, immigration and globalization.

Thankfully for the non-Spanish-speaking, the record comes with a CD-ROM, which includes the lyrics in 14 languages.

Taima

Maybe it’s global warming, but Taima could be the hottest thing to come out of the Arctic since the end of the ice age. Behind the beautiful and frigid cover lies the warm universe of guitarist Alain Auger and singer Elisapie Isaac. The two are Northerners, Auger being from Quebec’s Abitibi region and Isaac an Inuit from Salluit, a village in the Canadian Arctic.

The music of Taima is as distant as could be from traditional Inuit singing and this first album already has its own identity. Elisapie Isaac’s rich and soothing voice dominates the album but never at the price of anaemic musical arrangements: on the contrary, the arrangements can be quite muscular and sometimes downright psychedelic.

Taima means ‘enough’ and it is intended here to be a call for change addressed as much to the Whites of the ‘south’ as to the Native communities. Isaac feels the former tend to see themselves as culturally superior, the latter as perpetual victims. In a way, Isaac is the ultimate Canadian. The multicultural ideal that rarely is. Moving gracefully from Inuktitut to French to English, she is also a thoughtful and sensitive writer. She has already made a documentary on the future of her nation and social consciousness permeates this album. On ‘Les Voyages’ she reflects on identity, saying, in French: ‘Here I am in a city that has crushed the traces of its ancient dwellers. But I needed to go, to lose myself, to defend myself. I needed to go to find again the beauty of where I come from.’