Ojos de Brujo ‘Oacana’ (Warner Brothers Spain) 4/5

The follow up to the excellent ‘Techari’ from 2006 and a subsequent triumphant tour, Ojos de Brujo return with ‘Oacana’ (gipsy term for ‘now’)that is every bit as good as its predecessor and once again demonstrates the diverse take on traditional Catalan rumba and flamenco influences. Over a series of albums Ojos de Brujo have created a distinctive sound and identity, and now on a major label the rootsy indie feel to their music remains undiminished. Dancefloor action is guaranteed on ‘Rumba del adios’ that successfully fuses Catalan rumba with old school salsa horns. An even more interesting collaboration is that of inviting members of legendary Cuban band Los Van Van, including ace pianist Roberto Carcasses, on the riff laden ‘Busca la bueno’ with piano vamps and percussion added in for good measure. For a slice of authentic flamenco given a modern twist ‘Correveidible’ is simply irresistible and features a piano solo that shows the Cuban guests elsewhere have made their mark on the evolving Ojos sound. The maturity in Ojos’ repertoire is illustrated in the subtle groove that is ‘Baraka’ where rumba and bolero meet (an example in Spanish of ‘iba y vuelta’ or ‘coming and going’ flamenco where influences from outside the Iberian peninsular are incorporated before returning in a revitalised form of the genre) while Indian classical flavours are in evidence on ‘Tantas flores’. Fetching cartoon graphics on the cover and a lavish gatefold sleeve with bilingual lyrics complete an extremely well rounded set. Catch them if you can at a very limited number of concerts ending in Liverpool at the beginning of May.

Tim Stenhouse