were given a Fulbright-Hays grant through the U.S. State Department to
travel the globe as cultural ambassadors, including playing their
first-ever gig in Nepal. This year, they took to the airwaves, hosting
a weekly local L.A. music show, then a two-month morning show stint,
both for 98.7FM. And just to show the full extent of their pop cultural
penetration, they also performed on Dancing With the Stars. Can an American Idol cameo be too far behind?
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all this, they've kept experimenting, and expanding their musical breadth. The
core of their sound has always been a uniquely Los Angeles blend of
Mexican, Afro-Latin and hip-hop sensibilities. As the group has
matured, they've learned to adroitly incorporate merengue, salsa,
reggae, rock, R&B, funk, bolero, cumbia and hip-hop in any given
moment. It's the embodiment of the "glocal" -- the unity between a
global world where culture travels at the speed of information but with
a distinctly local sabor and spirit.
their three-night stand at the House of Blues, Ozomatli is giving their
long-time Angelino fans a special treat. For the first time since the
late '90s, the group's original rapper, Chali 2na, of Jurassic 5 fame,
is rejoining them on tour, reuniting part of the core group that helped
establish Ozomatli to begin with. (Is a Cut Chemist cameo in the works
too?) They just finished a similar three-night set at S.F.'s Fillmore,
but this trio of House of Blues' shows will be their last of 2008 and
it'll be a fine time for the local fans to help close out their busy
year in style. (Ozomatli perform tonight, tomorrow night and Saturday night at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip.) -- Oliver Wang