Local Wire

Ozomatli

The members of Ozomatli are a product of their environment. Like their Los Angeles home, their music's a melting pot of foreign and indigenous sounds. Reggae, salsa, funk, hip-hop, jazz and Latin music all show up in the bustling gumbo of styles. With so many influences flowing in and out, comparisons are difficult. The throbbing rhythms and horn-fueled funk undertones recall Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, but with more of a Caribbean swing. Hip-hop is equally important to the band, as rap's its usual lyrical vehicle. Unabashedly political, tracks such as "(Who Discovered) America?" and "Who's to Blame," off the band's latest, Street Signs, question the direction and policies of the country. Yet the truth of Ozomatli lies not in any of these elements, but in the blend of musical spice that the group has perfected live. It's a tasty stew of dense, dizzying arrangements built around effortless, mind-infiltrating choruses, and a lyrical rallying cry for peace, love and understanding. And it's good to the last drop.
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Chris Parker
Contact: Chris Parker