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Sunday, August 29, 2010

What to Do Tonight: Ozomatli

Posted By on Sun, Aug 29, 2010 at 8:00 AM

There are actually 17 other people in the band, but they couldnt fit on the dock
  • There are actually 17 other people in the band, but they couldn't fit on the dock

After 15 years of urban collision music, wildly inventive culture-mashers Ozomatli should be a household name. The global grooves emanating from this Los Angeles collective speaks to the melting pot and harmonic cacophony found in the group’s hometown. Ozo’s career started with community activism (they formed to play a labor protest), but their mash-up of hip-hop, dancehall, salsa, meringue, and funk has snagged many disparate fans over the years. A favorite of Carlos Santana — who toured alongside the band and has also engaged musical invention throughout his career to break down social and cultural barriers — Ozo show no signs of cooling. At the invitation of the U.S. State Department, the group served as official cultural ambassadors for a series of government-sponsored international tours of Asia, Africa, South America, and the Middle East. That says a lot about their fire-branded live shows. The Grammy award-winning band is supporting Fire Away, its latest slate of Mexifunk genre-splicing. Like all of Ozo’s music, it’s grandiose, chock full of positivity, and downright joyful. Detractors may say it’s all been done, but Ozomatli dispel any convention with spirit. Ozomatli play the Beachland Ballroom at 8 p.m. Tickets: $20. —Peter Chakerian

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