If the city of Los Angeles had a soundtrack, it would be Ozomatli’s music. Since forming in 1995, the lineup’s collaborative, energetic blend of multi-cultural music and activism has earned the band three GRAMMYs®, four Hollywood Bowl shows, a TED Talk and much more. But more importantly, Ozo has inspired and energized listeners worldwide. Even at gigs in locales including Burma and Mongolia, Ozomatli’s messages and music, sung in both Spanish and English, need no translation. Circa 2022, Ozo’s new songs, stronger-than-ever brotherhood and the potent emotional impetus behind Marching On further cements the legacy begun with the band’s 1998 self-titled debut.
Like The Doors, X, Los Lobos, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and other L.A.-based artists who take cues from the city and also reflect and unearth its movements, Ozomatli and Marching On reaches from the curbs to the high-rises. With musician/producer David Garza (Fiona Apple, Sparta) producing in pre-pandemic 2020 at El Paso’s Sonic Ranch, Ozo were honored with esteemed musical guests who contributed to the 11-song album.Ozomatli’s commitment to social justice is ongoing. Their 2019 single “Libertad,” with founding members Chali 2na (Jurassic 5) & Cut Chemist, was the first collaborative release together since Ozomatli’s 1998 debut album. It highlighted the struggle of Latin workers in the U.S. who sacrifice everything to help family on the other side of the border wall. Ozomati’s ongoing work in the world has not gone unnoticed. In 2008 the U.S. State Department appointed the band United States Cultural Ambassadors; in 2009 and 2010 they performed for President Barack Obama. And hometown honors came in 2013 when April 23 was deemed “Ozomatli Day” in perpetuity.
In some ways, Ozomatli’s raison d’etre is summed up in “Mi Destino’s” lyrics: “To put it plain and simple there’s no halt in the walk / Destined for future lessons unbelievable thoughts / We are the navigators and the journey the clock / Set all the gears in motion to pop.”
Ozomatli want everyone to join them, on the dance floor, in the mosh pit, in the trenches, just “one more” time, if they would, as they sing on Marching On’s fifth track: “De que estás agradecido / Cual es tu mission / Levántate con fuerza / Una vez más por favor.”