Ozomatli – Still Kicking Out The Jams!

Ozomatli – Changing The World 

Hailing from Los Angeles, the group has found a way to represent the city’s eclectic culture through their music. Not only does their music appeal to the locals of Los Angeles but, also fans all over the world.

From the early days of being Cultural Ambassadors by the U.S. State Department. While the band is flying all over the world performing free public concerts and hosting workshops in countries like Nepal. As well as  Myanmar, Vietnam, and Jordan, where Westerners are not always welcome. 

As always, Ozomatli finds a way to break boundaries and connects with all types of music fans. Check out Gaby Moreno and Ozomatli performing “Solamente Una Vez” from “Non-Stop Mexico to Jamaica” album.

Since forming in 1995, the band has been touring, recording and playing gigs all over the world. Like most artists nowadays, the pandemic has put a damper on their touring and projects. So, does it stop them from being a band? 

Nope, they’re doing live-streams, posting on social media, working on projects etc. Because, that’s what you do when you’re stuck in a quarantine hell. Plus, this band is always evolving musically so you never know what their next musical path is going to be with their albums. 

It All Starts Over A Labor Protest 

 Ozomatli met while attempting to create a worker’s union in Los Angeles, the union fails to attract recognition. However, gives them an abandoned building to use for a month. The building is transformed into a cultural art centre through which Ozomatli comes into fruition.  Forming in Los Angeles in the mid-’90s, eventually they set up on a lineup that includes Raúl “El Bully” Pacheco, Ulises Bella, Jiro Yamaguchi, Cut Chemist, Chali 2na, Wil-Dog Abers, Mairo Calire, Rene “Spinobi” Dominguez. As well as Justin “Niño” Porée, Asdrubal Sierra, and Jabu.

During the years, some of the members have come and gone and then sometimes come back. Either way, all these guys are top-notch musicians. During this time, Ozomatli spent their early days participating in everything from earthquake prep “hip hop ghetto plays” at inner-city elementary schools to community activist events, protests, and city fundraisers. Since then, they have been synonymous with their city.

Their music has been taken up by MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers and the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, they recorded the travelogue “City of Angels” as a new urban anthem, and they were featured as part of the prominent L.A. figures imaging campaign “We Are 4 L.A.” on NBC-TV.

Ozomatli also has the distinction of headlining the Hollywood Bowl three times, in 2008, 2010 and 2012. In recognition of their efforts, the City of Los Angeles has declared every April 23rd in perpetuity as “Ozomatli Day.

Projects & Releases

In 1998, Ozomatli releases their self-titled debut album, and soon after opens for Santana on their Supernatural Tour. The group releases “Embrace the Chaos” in 2001, which earns them a Grammy award for Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album. The follow up album, “Street Signs”, wins them both the same award and the Latin Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album in 2005. “Don’t Mess with the Dragon” follows in 2007, which sees the band experimenting with a more diverse array of musical styles.

The group composes music for “Happy Feet 2” and records Ozomatli Presents “Ozokidz”, a “family-friendly” album. In April 2012, Ozomatli is featured in Jack Johnson & Friends “Best of the Kokua Festival.” A 13-track compilation of live performances from the Kokua Festival with musicians Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne, Eddie Vedder. As well as Ben Harper, Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds, Ziggy Marley, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Taj Mahal, G. Love, and more!

From 2011 to 2014, Ozomatli also serves as the house band for stand-up comedian Gabriel Iglesias’ television show, Gabriel Iglesias Presents “Stand Up Revolution.”

Ozomatli Presents “Ozokidz”

“Ozokidz”, is a special family friendly set that’s geared towards children and adults alike. The album, releases on Hornblow Recordings in fall of 2012 and has been recognized by the media as a standout release in the children’s music genre. Even when touring, they have special dates for the Ozokidz shows. Lastly, they work with PBS Kids by creating music for their videos.  Other projects include Ozomatli making an appearance at TEDxSF – the first musical talk ever given at any TED conference.

Furthermore, they perform for President and First Lady Obama at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s 32nd Annual Award Gala. The group also has toured with Carlos Santana and served as the house band for stand-up comedian Gabriel Iglesias’s television show. So, when they’re not performing on stage, they have a lot of projects keeping them busy during their down-time.  In the meantime, you can get to know this band a little better by checking out their social media sites below.  

Furthermore, it doesn’t matter if you don’t know Spanish. Because once you get into the groove of what they’re playing, you’re hooked just like everyone else. I guarantee that after watching an Ozomatli show live, you’ll be sweaty from all the dancing. As well as being overwhelmed with a sense of joy and happiness. Their performances are always on point and a blast to attend. Especially the samba line into the audience! These guys are worth checking out! 


Credits: Paste Magazine Video & https://ozomatli.com/