'Ozomatli' is a Latin funk/worldbeat/rock en Español group, formed in 1996 in Los Angeles, known as much for their extremely vocal activist viewpoints as their huge array of musical styles.
Band History (Summary)
Ozomatli is named after the Nahuatl name for the monkey astrological symbol within the Aztec calendar, as well as God of Dance, of Fire, the new Harvest of Music, Orchestrator of the Jungle.
Ozomatli began their career in the Los Angeles and San Diego/Mexico border-area club scene. Following an appearance on Vibe!, the group broke into the mainstream, releasing Ozomatli, their self titled debut album, in June 1998. under the Almo Sounds label. Ozomatli has since released two other albums: Embrace the Chaos in 2001, and Street Signs in 2004, with Interscope and Concord Jazz, respectively. Eddie Palmieri, who is also on the Concord Jazz label, is a featured performer on Street Signs.
In 2005, Street Signs won the Grammy Award for Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album.
This is Ozomatli's lineup as of the release of Street Signs:
Wil-Dog Abers: bass, background vocals
Raúl 'El Bully' Pacheco: Guitar, tres, jarana, background vocals
Justin 'El Niño' Porée: Percussion, rap vocals
Asdru Sierra: Trumpet, lead vocals, piano, acoustic guitar
Ulises Bella: Saxophone, background vocals, requinto jarocho, keyboard, melodica
Jiro Yamaguchi: Tabla, percussion and background vocals
Mario Calire: Drums
Sheffer Bruton: Trombone
DJ Spinobi: Turntables
Jabu MC: Rap vocals
Embrace the Chaos was released on the auspicious date of September 11, 2001. Although many American bands cancelled their concerts, Ozomatli gained some recognition for continuing to play their concerts, all the while continuing their commitment to social justice, progressive politics, as well as the anti-war movement. Afterwards, the band made a further commitment to a new direction in music, embracing North African and Arab musical styles in addition to their own. The blend of many cultural styles on Street Signs can be a little disconcerting, with vocals mentioning the Yakuza crossing paths with gnawa trance; or Moroccan sintir virtuoso Hassan Hakmoun, joining the band along with Les Yeux Noirs and the Prague Symphony. Also accompanying are David Hidalgo of Los Lobos and Mario Calire of The Wallflowers.
Several members left the band to pursue other projects, most notably Cut Chemist, who forged a DJ solo career and was already a member of Jurassic 5, and MC Chali 2na, who is also in J5
During the 2000 Democratic National Convention Ozomatli played a live concert before thousands of protestors across the street from the convention hall. Also performing at the protest was Rage Against the Machine.
The group also received the 2002 Grammy Award for 'Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album'. After playing at Coachella, Ozomatli were featured in Newsweek and on the Univision program Despierta America in June 2004.
Ozomatli has twice performed at the Austin, Texas mega music festival South by Southwest, most recently in 2004, when the group was confronted while performing outside of a club where they would later have a concert. Two members of the band, as well as the manager, were arrested, and the charges were eventually dropped.
In March 2005, Ozomatli played at WOMAdelaide, a world music festival in Adelaide, South Australia. They had two night sets including a memorable Saturday when, after refusing to leave the stage 15 minutes late, they leaped into the crowd for a remarkable 45 minute encore.
* Ozomatli (1998)
* Super Bowl Sundae (single) (1999)
* Embrace the Chaos (2001)
* Coming Up (EP) (2003)
* Street Signs (2004)
* Live at the Fillmore (2005)