OJOS DE BRUJO with JAIPUR KAWA BRASS BAND at Harbourfront Centre, July 3. Tickets: free. Attendance: 1,000. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
After an hour of shrill, bouncing jubilation courtesy of the Jaipur Kawa Brass Band, I wanted to grab the microphone and break it down for all the kids in the big field outside Harbourfront Centre 's central stage about the British colonization of India and the cultural significance of the band playing those instruments.
But as the nine ornately dressed members of leader/founder Hameed Khan Kawa 's band (including two dancers, one of whom balanced four spinning bike wheels on his body) played trumpet, alto sax, snare drums, euphonium and clarinette in the middle of the field and danced with the crowd, I decided to let the music speak for itself.
Later that afternoon, at the bigger outdoor stage, the eight people in Barcelona-based live flamenco/folk/ funk/hiphop collective Ojos de Brujo spoke for themselves in English and Spanish, the frontman/woman team of DJ Panko and Marina La Canillas translating each other before an overflowing audience.
The definition of clashing in a red Phillies trucker hat and the orange camouflage T-shirt last seen on Bill Murray in Lost In Translation, Panko tinkered with his mixer, turntable, CD player and Enya-texture keyboard, smilingly getting everyone heated up for their soul-unlocking songs of freedom, unity and joy.
La Canillas wore a lavish gold turban and a shining, stringy gold robe over a mauve dress. In Spanish, she addressed the dancing crowd and Panko translated: "This next song is for the children, who see the tree and then they take an apple. Because they are the future."
Then they dropped into an empassioned-sounding mash-out showcasing La Canillas's boxcutter flows, not to mention the band's percussive power. But when they brought out their secret weapon out, it was over.
Rahzel to their Roots, another MC named Max came out and harmonized, beatboxed, mouth-scratched and fired off Spanish rhymes at over 400 mph.
He'd probably have gotten a speeding ticket had Harbourfront security not been tied up with an unauthorized posse of rogue videographers trying to film the show.