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Ojos De Brujo: Corriente Vital - 10 Anos

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Ojos De Brujo

Corriente Vital: 10 Anos

Warner Music Spain

2011

The word is that Corriente Vital: 10 Anos may be Barcelona-based Ojos De Brujo's final album. It is now over a decade since the Catalan and Gypsy collective released its debut, Vengue (Edel, 2000), in its unique flamenco, rumba, raga, dub, hip hop and jazz style. Since then, ODB has made seven world tours and three more magnificent studio albums—Bari (World Village, 2002), Techari (Six Degrees, 2006) and Aocana (Warner Bros., 2009)—plus the live set, Techari Live (Six Degrees, 2008). During a decade of rising international success, ODB has kept its freak flag flying, staying true to its social-libertarian principles, and managing its own life and musical career. Now the group says it wants a break, and the space to explore individual projects.

Corriente Vital: 10 Anos was put together in 2010 to celebrate ODB's history since 2000. Already feeling the need for time out, the group chose not to attempt another all-new studio album, but to revisit highlights from its discography in collaboration with half a dozen or so guest producers and remixers. There are, however, two substantial new tracks—"Corriente Vital" (The Current Of Life) and "La Machine"—the first in the group's vibrant, classic rumba Catalana mode, the second a faster, more urgent and contemporary-hued piece of jip jop flamenkillo. Elsewhere, the guest producers revisit five tracks from Aocana, two from Bari and one each from Vengue and Techari. ODB's longtime friend Nitin Sawhney was brought in to produce the title track.

Remixes have been a regular feature of ODB's oeuvre: the deluxe edition of Aocana, for instance, included a full disc of them. Some of those on the new album are pretty radical, but at no time do they overwhelm the tracks' original identities. In part, this is because singer/rapper/songwriter Marina Abad has been kept out front. Abad's performances are so commanding that her presence indelibly colors everything she touches, in the studio or on stage. In part, it is because ODB's arrangements are so deeply layered, that every time they are heard they sound fresh and different, whether actually remixed or not; the details are simultaneously important and irrelevant.

The passing of the last decade shows in the faces of the band, captured at various points since 2000 in the disc's 28-page booklet. The musicians don't look much older now, and they certainly don't look like a bunch of cocaine-raddled touring burnouts (having always preferred good food and good weed for self-medication). They look more...seasoned. It's to be hoped that Abad, in particular, will return with another project. Her lyrics have been key to ODB's identity, and they read, even in translation, as well on the page as they sound on disc: words suffused with a love of life, freedom and justice. The booklet includes all the original lyrics and their English translations.

Meanwhile, as we wait to see what comes next, Corriente Vital: 10 Anos is highly recommended. If this really is goodbye, then it comes from a band still at its peak, with enough principles to resist being turned into a mere money-making machine. Check the YouTube clip below, and stay with it until 03.40, when the duende kicks in—and keeps building. ODB will be sorely missed.

Tracks: Corriente Vital; Todos Mortales; Nueva Vida; Ley de Gravedad; Corre Lola Corre; Lluvia; Baraka; Sultanas De Merkaillo; Get Up Stand Up; Na En La Nevera; Ventilaor; La Machine; Nana.

Personnel (not given; indicative only): Marina Abad: vocals; Ramon Gimenez: flamenco guitar; Xavi Turuli: cajon, tabla, congas, percussion; DJ Panko: turntables, scratching; Carlitos Sarduy: trumpet, piano, percussion; Maxwell Wright: percussion, vocals; Paco Lomena: flamenco guitar; Javi Martin: bajo; Los Van Van: vocals, violin, bajo, drum; Tote King: vocals; Duquende: vocals; Chano Dominguez: piano; Roberto Carcasses: piano; Kumar: vocals; Horacio El Negro: drum; Roger Blavia: drum; Leonardo Rodriguez: drum; Denis Cuni: trombone; Regis Molina: baritone saxophone; Roman Filiu: tenor saxophone; Dany Noei: tres; Antonio Restucci: mandolin; Zoltan Lantos: violin; Gyan Singh: loop tabla; Kiran Sarduy: jaleos; Alba Carmona: vocals; Tania Gonzalez: vocals; Susi Medina: handclaps; Isaac Barbero: handclaps; Eva Santiago: handclaps; Angel Rodriguez: handclaps; Mati Fernandez: handclaps; Lidia Escudero: handclaps.

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