Nov 122003
Authors: Brooke Harless

Ozomatli, one of the most ethnically diverse “worldbeat” bands

of this century, produces a sound that can be described as spirited

salsa-Latin-funk-jazz and hip-hop. Ozo’s synthesis of sounds is

backed by powerful lyrics that delve into politics as well as

lyrical poetry. Although they cannot be equated to any other band

as their sound is so unique, undertones of Santana as well as Los

Lobos and Jurassic 5 can be heard. Mike Ross, writer for The

Express describes them as a, “salsa band on steroids crashing Puff

Daddy’s studio to show him what real rappers sound like.”

The eight musicians encompass roots that range geographically

and musically. From hip-hop and funk to Indian table percussion,

their musical range derives sounds that span across the world.

Their instruments include everything from turntables and Indian

tablas to tenor sax and the Mexican guitar baja sexto.

“I saw them a couple years ago when they opened for Santana at

Red Rocks,” said Karin Parker a senior graphic design major. “They

were unbelievable in concert. Very animated and their sound was

like nothing I’ve ever heard before. Salsa rap is a sound you’d

think would suck, but they pull it off so well.”

The band, named after the Aztec god of dance includes members of

Cuban, Mexican, African American, Japanese and European descent. At

one time the ensemble featured Cut Chemist and Chali 2na currently

of Jurassic 5.

Ozomatli formed in Los Angeles in the mid ’90s and began playing

the ghettos of L.A. as well as Orange County and San Jose. After

gaining local familiarity, the band began touring and have not

slowed down since. Ozomatli has spent the last three years on the

road and have covered the U.S. several times over. Having been

together for nearly a decade, Ozomatli has experimented with their

distinctive sound for each album.

“I think we’re way better musicians this time around,” said

Abers of their new album “Coming Up.” “It’s a more sophisticated

record in terms of musicianship. I don’t think we could have ever

pulled off some of these things on our first record. We’ve learned

how to let go, how to practice listening. I never thought we could

sound like this.”

Ozo’s group of eight include Justin Poree, percussion, Kanetic

Source, rap vocals, Jiro Yamaguchi, percussion, Raul Pacheco,

guitar, Asdru Sierra, trumpet and lead vocals, Ulises Bella, tenor

sax, guitar, clarinet and vocals, Wil-Dog Abers, bass and vocals

and Andy Mendoza on drums.

Ozomatli will be performing at the Aggie Friday.




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