Ozomatli’s collaborative, energetic blend of multi-cultural music and activism has earned them three GRAMMYs®, four Hollywood Bowl shows, a TED Talk and much more. Since forming in 1995, the Los Angeles-bred lineup has inspired and energized listeners as far away Burma and Mongolia: Ozo’s messages and music, sung in both Spanish and English, need no translation. 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 reaches from the curbs to the high-rises.
Ozomatli’s commitment to social justice is ongoing. Their 2019 single “Libertad,” with founding members Chali 2na (Jurassic 5) & Cut Chemist, was the first 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. In 2008 the U.S. State Department appointed the band United States Cultural Ambassadors; in 2009 and 2010 Ozo performed for President Barack Obama. Hometown honors arrived in 2013, when April 23 was deemed “Ozomatli Day” in perpetuity, and in 2011, Ozomatli was awarded the NCLR (National Council of La Raza) Capital Award.
In 2022, Ozo’s new songs, stronger-than-ever brotherhood and creativity culminated in Marching On. Produced by David Garza (Fiona Apple, Sparta) at El Paso’s Sonic Ranch, the LP’s 11 songs are a unified blend of the members’ influences and ideas. Guests include J.J. Fad and Lisa Lisa on “Fellas,” while “Mi Destino,” sung in both English and Spanish, features Cypress Hill’s B-Real and Guatemalan singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno, who also lends her vocals to the title track “Marching On”.
If the city of Los Angeles had a soundtrack, it would be Ozomatli’s music. As founding members Jiro Yamaguchi and Uli explain: “You drive down Sunset Boulevard and turn off your stereo and roll down your windows and the music that comes out of each and every different car, whether it’s salsa, cumbia, merengue, Hip Hop, funk or whatever, it’s that crazy blend that’s going on between that cacophony of sound is Ozomatli, y’know?”
Raúl Pacheco – Lead & Backing Vocals, Guitar, Tres, Jarana
Asdrubal Sierra – Lead & Backing Vocals, Trumpet, Piano
Justin ‘El Niño’ Porée – Percussion, Rap Vocals, Lead & Backing Vocals
Ulises Bella – Saxophone, Lead & Backing Vocals, Requinto, Jarocho, Keyboard, Melodica
Wil-Dog Abers – Bass, Marimbula, Backing Vocals
Jiro Yamaguchi – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals