It is an ambitious, self-produced journey, recorded both abroad in Cuba and New York as well as in a studio at the foot of the Pyrenees mountains, close to the birthplace of Salvador Dalí.
Full of adventurous musical ideas developed on their celebrated Barí tour, when they were wowing crowds across the world at festivals like Womad, the Montreal International Jazz Festival, and NY Summerstage, Techarí represents their maverick spirit and dedication to pushing the boundaries of their sound and experimenting with the awesome sonic power of collective musical freedom.
In 2005, the band gave a new name to their Spanish record label, Diquela, a gypsy word which means: ‘look!’ or ‘check it out.’ “It’s a new period,” says Xavi Turull. “One of the pressures of success is to look for ways to stay true. And we are really trying to find a way to be free. That’s why the new album’s called Techarí, because it means ‘free’ in the gypsy language.”
Work on Techarí started at the end of March 2005 and was completed at the end of October. In between the band did two international tours, which stop-started the recording process. “Recording and touring at the same time was a little crazy, but the result is amazing,” says Xavi. “We are finally at a point where the sound is exactly the way we want.”
Keeping the creative process free remains the heart and soul of the collective. “We don’t ever really know what we’re going to do,” Xavi laughs. “We all come with fresh ideas, and it’s down to all of us if we decide to use them or not. It makes the process really slow and complicated, but the end result is so rich. It’s the result of eight people putting all their feelings, knowledge, and wisdom together.”
Special guests include Faada Freddy from Senegalese hip hop collective Daara J, Asian Dub Foundation’s Prithpal Rajput, and Nitin Sawhney, South Indian fusion artist and British TV star (who returned the favor after ODB collaborated on two tracks for his album Philtre).
Cuban pianist Roberto Carcassés also makes an appearance alongside respected flamenco guitarist Pepe Habichuela, and Cuban tres/flamenco guitar player Raúl Rodríguez from Son de la Frontera.
Cuban drums are used in bulerias, funk is layered onto rumba catalana, and dhol drums add an Eastern flavor to the mix. However the band are quick to point out that these collaborations are the result of new friendships, and not any cynical marketing strategy. For Ojos de Brujo, the process is always organic and from the heart, and they have succeeded in conjuring their very own genre out of disparate elements.
The Techarí bonus CD-ROM features work from fourteen illustrators from around the world, each represent the individual nature of the fourteen tracks, fifteen translations of lead singer Marina’s startling, emotionally-charged lyrics, and three full-length videos. Much more than just an album, it is the band reaching out to the world with the images and sounds of creative freedom, collective spirit and musical adventure.
“It’s one of our biggest problems that we’re always spend too much money. It’s a sacrifice for art, because we want things to happen in the way that we imagine it. To make money from a concert, perhaps ten people should travel, but we always go out with the whole troop. And we’re always bringing new people in, the latest being Carlos Sarduy, an incredible trumpet and flugelhorn player from Cuba. It’s always been like this; If you see only a few of us on stage, it’s because someone held us at gunpoint!”