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With roots going all the way back to Africa, and head in the urban jungles of Los Angeles, Ozomatli is a band with a message. "We represent the ghettos," says Wil-Dog, Latin bass specialist and band spokesman. "We want to make a change in our neighborhoods, show people a positive way to live."

Ozomatli is the Aztec god of dance, and that is exactly what this group inspires in their ecstatic audiences. Funk, salsa, hip hop, jazzy freestylin' poetry with rhythm. The big band includes guitar, bass, horns and turntables, with a big emphasis on percussion. Going from playing strictly political benefits a couple of years ago, Ozomatli now commands crowds thousands strong all across the US. Their frequent performances in home turf always end in spontaneous carnaval-esque expressions that explode out of the clubs and into the streets in the form of parades or drumming circles.

Sierra Nevada World Music Festival


The debut album Ozomatli burned down many walls between musical genres, and won converts in the most diverse of musical circles. Funk finds its Latin cousins, hard salsa gains a tribal aspect, as in the slamming opening track "Como Ves," and hip hop tracks featuring vocalist Chali 2na are healthily enriched by top notch instrumentation.

The pure energy expressed in both recordings and live performances make Ozomatli one of the most exciting groups to emerge onto the American music scene in the past few years. Don't miss their set on Sunday, sure to be a highlight of this year's Sierra Nevada World Music Festival.

bio by The Beat Magazine & MW


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