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As is evidenced from my previous entries relating to music, it’s pretty apparent that my taste runs toward the eclectic side, and if there is a band I listen to that probably exemplifies musical eclecticism and fusion best it would have to be the fantastic band I’ll be seeing at a private radio station (KPRI) gig tonight, Ozomatli. This quote from a BC Music review puts the band’s sound on their latest venture “Don’t Mess with the Dragon” into perspective quite well, “Ozo is, as ever, a instrumental atom bomb compared to most pop out there – the disc burns with their unique energy and soul.” While I don’t think I’d use the category of “pop” for Ozomatli, it is so true that their music IS an instrumental atom bomb compared to most others. Their CDs are truly worthy of spending a bit of time getting to know–as is the band!

I really don’t have time to write much about them other than to tell you to get your fannies over to iTunes or your local record shop to buy “Don’t Mess with the Dragon” ASAP! Here is a link to a Google page of reviews for the CD, and here is the Ozomatli web site. I’ll also include a couple of videos for you to enjoy. I did do a brief story about Ozomatli about a year ago, so will post that for you, too. Off to get ready for a night of fun with friends, incredible music, TONS of dancing, and an all-around celebration of life! 🙂

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*** 8/7/07 UPDATE: Ozomatli was ON FIRE at Anthology in San Diego last night!!! While they only played just under one hour of music, it was jam packed, crowd-pleasing, shake-your-ass-until-you-can’t-shake-it-anymore music, and they definitely had the crowd eating out of their hands. I implore you to hit the link I offered above to Ozo’s web site to find out when they will be hitting your town, then buy those tickets ASAP and prepare for one hell of a good time! Thank you Ozomatli (especially for performing one of my new faves: Magnolia Soul-lyrics copied below!) and KPRI for a fantastic night. Despite the fact the bathroom door at the venue decided to slice a chunk of my right thumb off, it was STILL an incredible evening of great music, high energy, and memorable times with friends. :)***

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“City of Angels” from Don’t Mess with the Dragon by Ozomatli

(Ozomatli “City of Angels” music video directed/edited by Matthew Johnston and shot by Willie Tipp. Winner of the “Wanna Mess with the Dragon?” music video contest)

“Magnolia Soul” from Don’t Mess with the Dragon by Ozomatli

This isn’t the best video, but is from a live performance of one of my favorite songs on the new CD. As a reviewer said, it’s a scathing indictment of post-Katrina chaos. Ozomatli does an incredible job of getting out very important political messages in their music.

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Magnolia Soul

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CHORUS:

Let the good times roll,

Bad times gone

The suns gonna shine

Rise up, get on your feet

Let the good times roll

Sad times gone

Let the good times roll

Pretty mama can’t stop

Magnolia’s soul

Justin:

Dear magnolia, what’s crackin’?

Been a long time since I last saw your face

Never forget the day out in the sticks I saw your crecsent smile in place

All the way from uptown, downtown, lakeside to river

Heard W don’t care about them

Gotta watch who you make ya friend

Otherwise FEMA will come through and backstab you again

Just some advice to lend

Weak ties will bend

Through the dark true light will win

And they said that this the end

But we fixin’ to make them saints march on again

CHORUS:

Let the good times roll,

Bad times gone

The suns gonna shine

Rise up, get on your feet

Let the good times roll

Sad times gone

Let the good times roll

Pretty mama can’t stop

Magnolia’s soul

Jabu:

Polite little hurricane, called for she came

Officials knew the deal and they didn’t do a thang

Knew her every move

Yep Katrina was her name

The mayor had the whole game in the palm of his hand

Hand in the pot

Caught cold and oh!/ shouldv’e fixed them damn levees long time ago/ but they didn’t take the chance to do it

Pitty pat between the pres and the mayor

Folks was dying (die) too

A gang of us in the superdome

We’re in the heat

Folks in wheelchairs feet swole, nothing to eat

So to the kids and the families that lost

I rhyme for, ‘nolia clap

Show the world your sooooooul

CHORUS:

Let the good times roll,

Bad times gone

The suns gonna shine

Rise up, get on your feet

Let the good times roll

Sad times gone

Let the good times roll

Pretty mama can’t stop

Magnolia’s soul

Bridge:

Everybody clap them hands

Still steppin to the second line band

Still stompin’ to the zulu drum

You can’t stop this native son

A huh huh

Let the good times roll

Let the good times roll pretty mama can’t stop magnolias soul

CHORUS:

Let the good times roll,

Bad times gone

The suns gonna shine

Rise up, get on your feet

Let the good times roll

Sad times gone

Let the good times roll

Pretty mama can’t stop

Magnolia’s soul

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Here’s the story I did last year:

ozoaacover.jpgI dare you to not move your feet and fanny (and any other body parts you so choose) while listening to this band! As a matter of fact, the first time I ever heard Ozomatli we couldn’t see them, but boy we sure could hear them…and feel them! Our bodies sensed the excitement and the rhythms from their horn section and drums…they infused our bodies. We were magically drawn toward the music like bees to honey…to the sweet sounds of their voices and the potent lyrics. Unfortunately such was the case with hundreds of other bodies who were all trying to get near the stage, and sadly blocking our ability to get anywhere near it. The closest we could get had the band members looking like small dolls dancing on stage. Sadly this first encounter with the band would not allow us to embrace the entire Ozomatli experience (and trust me, an Ozo show IS an experience!), but it did allow us to get a taste of what would soon become an addiction.

ozofillmore.jpgThis first brief experience with Ozomatli was back on a beautiful Saturday in September of 2002 at a music festival called Street Scene. Back in the day it was held in the Gaslamp Quarter, an area of downtown San Diego, California. Sadly the festival has moved to Qualcomm Stadium (where the San Diego Chargers play…at least for now…sigh), and even though I have to admit to not having attended Street Scene since they moved there, I just can’t imagine it having the same ‘flavor’ as it did by being held in the fabulous historic streets of downtown San Diego. (Street Scene has moved a couple of times since I did this review–twice this year!)

Since that initial taste of addiction was born on 9/7/02, thankfully the fixes have had much more success than that day at Street Scene. The next couple of times I saw Ozomatli were at one of the BEST venues to see a show in San Diego County, the Belly Up Tavern. It’s located in Solana Beach, which is in Northern San Diego County, literally just north of the Del Mar Race Track and Fairgrounds. I L-O-V-E the Belly Up Tavern! I’ve pretty much spent some of my best concert-going times there since I became legal (oh so long ago!)…awesome music…great service…small venue with great sound…and incredibly memorable times with friends! Yup, love that place.

ozostreetsigns.jpgSo back to Ozomatli. Right now this GRAMMY® Award winning, Los Angeles-based band with an active political conscience has ten band members, a wide array of instruments, and several of their members contributing to vocals. It’s hard to describe Ozo‘s music other than to say it’s a FABULOUS fusion of latin and world music, hip-hop (which I’m usually NOT a fan of), heavy doses of political activism, reggae, a hot brass section and elaborate percussion, all woven together to get you rocking your body off on the dance floor. My experience has been that there truly is NO WAY you can be at an Ozomatli show and NOT move your body. No way possible! The music invades your soul, your head starts to bob, your toes start tapping, next thing you know your fanny is off the seat and you’re moving like you’ve been dancing to this blend of music all your life. It honestly is an experience that consumes every fiber of your being, mentally and physically. While it may leave you completely drained after the show, there is actually an interesting sense of renewal and invigoration you feel when all is said and done. And speaking of done, this band finishes each show by grabbing their instruments (drum included!), heading out into the audience, snaking their way around folks, while singing and dancing with the audience as they head out the door. I guarantee an Ozomatli concert will be one of your BEST musical experiences EVER!

So click on the links I’ve provided throughout this page to get more information on the band, sample some music, check out their merchandise, and most of all find out when they might be touring in your area.

May you fall victim to the Ozomatli addiction like I did and soon consider yourself an Ozo fanatic. No 12-step program required.

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