Ozomatli belong to a new breed of global music hoodlum alongside the likes of Manu Chao and Los De Abajo. They all play a kind of hi-octane pan-Latino dance music which mixes elements like ska, samba, salsa, punk, hip hop to varying degrees, and, in Ozomatlis case, funk, Tex Mex, swing and soul as well. Onstage, they rely mainly on live instruments, old style, and mash all their influences together with rocket-propelled abandon, new style. They're all defiantly and fearlessly radical, politically and creatively, and they all deliver monstrously enjoyable live sets, the kind that keep you buzzing like a live wire for days after the event.
Named after the Aztec god of dance, Ozomatli, or Ozo for short, came together in the 'burbs of mid 1990s LA when a Black-Chicano-Cuban-Japanese-Jewish-Filipino bunch of mates started to pool their love of everything from Tito Puente to Jimi Hendrix to Stetsasonic to The Clash. With names like Wil-Dog, Asdru, Raul and Kanetic MC (who shares his time between Ozomatli and Jurassic 5), Ozomatli look and sound like they've come straight out of some underground US comic by the Hernandez brothers.
The band have conquered the USA and the world by dint of relentless touring, which has honed their live show down to perfection. They're famous for giving their all for the allotted 60 minutes plus and then bouncing off the stage to carry on partying in amongst their audiences, a ruse which caused joyous havoc when Ozomatli played at the Barbican in London a few years ago. Their debut album Ozomatli featured the hugely infectious hit Cumbia Cumbia and their latest platter, Embrace The Chaos was graced by contributions from Pos de Nous and TruGoy of De La Soul no less.