Ojos de Brujo, flamenco hip-hop group. Interview
“The magic of
Ojos de Brujo lies in the flamenco”
Silvia Calado, June 2005
Translation: Gary Cook
de Brujo hits factory is ready to blow. The band's third
album is due out in the autumn and it's time to “bring
all the ideas that sprung up over the course of the tour to
fruition, organize them, package them up”. And in the
meanwhile, to keep their fans happy, there'll be the first
chance to catch a live performance on DVD. The concert show
is pieced together from highlights of the three year ‘World
Trapi Tour’, singled out for an award by the Spanish
Academy of Music. The international success of the group under
the banner of ‘world music’ has led to fruitful
joint ventures that are leaving a certain flamenco aftertaste
with musicians like Nitin Sawhney, Asian Dub Foundation or
FunDaMental. Let's see what happens in the return match...
The band's next recording project will, according to Ramón,
have “more funk, more hip-hop, more flamenco, more of
everything... but it'll be tighter, for sure. We have the
advantage that we’ve spent a lot of time together, when
we play everyone learns from everyone else.”
Ojos de Brujo (Photo:
In a few words, how would you weigh up Ojos de Brujo's
Very positive. I never imagined any of this, Ojos de Brujo
was all about playing just for the fun of it.
What's the secret of an album (‘Barí’)
that not only still sounds good after two years, but that
continues to grow with time?
This album was our ticket to success in the outside world.
And the discovery of ‘Barí’ is backed up
internationally by our live shows. It was all a gradual process
like a snowball that, over the course of around two years,
just grew and grew.
Why do you think Ojos de Brujo's music is understood
in such different countries?
In Ojos de Brujo, on the one hand, there's a code that is
perfectly easy to understand in other countries, like funk,
hip-hop… And, on the other hand, there's a flamenco
code more unfamiliar to them but that, when it's combined
with what they know, is very attractive. The magic lies in
the flamenco, that’s what wins over audiences in all
its modes of expression, from the purest forms right down
to the extract that is the heartbeat of Ojos de Brujo's songs.
There are foreigners who listen to Ojos de Brujo because they
like funk, but they start to get hooked on bulerías,
or who liked reggae but ended up hooked on tangos. And, in
the end, they see the light and end up listening to seguirillas
and in love with flamenco. I think under any other circumstances
it would've been harder to get them interested in flamenco.
Marina and Ramón (Photo:
What effect did the BBC Radio 3 World Music award
It was like a breath of fresh air. After all the work we
did in Europe, things like that give us inspiration to continue
In what sense is the label ‘world music’
positive for flamenco?
Flamenco is flamenco wherever it goes, whatever label you
put on it. But all things considered, the appearance of a
new way of presenting flamenco will always be welcome. Let's
not forget that for people that are unfamiliar with flamenco
this label is perfect. Everything is ‘world music’
until proven otherwise.
is flamenco wherever it goes, whatever label you put
What did it mean to the group that a label like Epitaph,
with such a unique philosophy, should show an interest in
distributing ‘Barí’ in the U.S.?
Well, all of this is like a barometer that gives us a reading
of how much influence the group is having on an international
We even heard a rumor that ‘Barí’
was one of Tom Waits's favorite albums lately...
That also gave me a boost… those urban legends. (He