Ozomatli are an LA-based band who combine Latin and world music influences with funk and hip-hop. The group is also very politically conscious, promoting social change both in their music and through activism. They have gathered a large fan base due to their pure energy at live shows. Chali 2na and Cut Chemist of Jurassic 5 were both originally members of Ozomatli. They have since left the group but both make guest appearances on Ozomatli's latest album, Street Signs. Since their departure Ozomatli have recruited rappers Justin "El Niño" Poree and Jabu and turntablist DJ Spinobi into their ranks. The current lineup of the band, at the time of the release of Street Signs, is: Wil-Dog Abers - Bass, background vocals Raul Pacheco - Guitar, Tres, Jarana, Lead Vocals Justin Poree - Percussion, Rap Vocals Asdru Sierra - Trumpet, Lead Vocals, Piano, Acoustic Guitar Ulises Bella - Saxophone, Clarinet, Requinto Jarocho, Kayboards, Background Vocals Jiro Yamaguchi - Tabla, Percussion, Background Vocals Mario Calire - Drums Sheffer Bruton - Trombone, Background Vocals DJ Spinobi - Turntables Jabu - Rap Vocals
In their eighteen years together as a band, celebrated Los Angeles culture-mashers Ozomatli have gone from being hometown heroes to being named U.S. State Department Cultural Ambassadors. Ozomatli has always juggled two key identities. They are the voice of theircity and they are citizens of the world. Their music - a notorious urban-Latino-and-beyond collision of hip hop and salsa, dancehall and cumbia, samba and funk, merengue and comparsa, East LAR&B and New Orleans second line...
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Ozomatli is a seven to ten piece band playing primarily Latin, hip hop, and rock music, formed in 1995 in Los Angeles. They are known both for their vocal activist viewpoints and their wide array of musical styles - including salsa, jazz, funk, reggae, rap, and others.
In a 2007 NPR interview, band members Jiro Yamaguchi and Ulises Bella describe Ozomatli: