Since its debut back on March 26 – featuring a memorable performance by Grammy winner Raphael Saadiq – Red Bull Live Sessions have provided some of music’s most talented artists with an intimate setting in which to perform and discuss some of their favorite songs. The motley L.A. crew known as Ozomatli was the latest to appear, and they threw a proper Quatro de Mayo party down at Red Bull Studio in Los Angeles.
The band kicked things off with "Nadas Por Free," a quickfire track off last year’s "Fire Away," then rolled right into "Ya Viene El Sol" off their Grammy Award-winning "Street Signs." After that, it was 15 minutes of Fluffy time. A longtime friend of the band, comedian Gabriel 'Fluffy' Iglesias unleashed a barrage of jokes and stories, frequently sending the band (and the control room) into hysterics.
Livestream pulled a few questions from fans tuning into the broadcast, who inquired about everything from the band’s community outreach to their Mexican roots. Then came three more songs, crowd favorite "Saturday Night," "Temperatura" and another "Fire Away" classic, "Caballito."
With success in both the Latino and pop music worlds, Ozomatli have shown that they can capitalize on a multicultural sound, especially in a town like L.A., and especially at a festival like this year’s Coachella, where they played alongside artists like Bomba Estéreo, Omar Rodríguez-López and a freshly reunited Caifanes.
After their session, I asked bassist Wil-Dog Abers whether or not he felt Coachella represented a possible expansion of that Latin sound on mainstream airwaves.
“It comes down to population," he says. “In the Southwest, it’s huge. You’ve got first, second and third-generation Latinos who grew up listening to music in Spanish with their parents, but then got into rock ‘n’ roll and can relate to both sides of the coin. A few of those bands you mentioned, they’re from other countries. We’re the bridge here in the States between those bands and the mainstream.
"We teeter on the fence, but the reality is we’re not fully a part of either world. At times it’s frustrating, but it’s also a blessing because we get to see and experience both sides.”
The band is currently working on an Ozokidz album to be released early next year. A companion disc to their hugely popular Ozokidz shows — all-ages performances that give parents the opportunity to get down with their little ones in a family-friendly environment — the project will feature songs in English and Spanish, and is a labor of love for each member of the jet-setting band.
Equally demanding has been the scoring of an upcoming video game, to be announced later this spring. It’s the first time Ozo have worked on such a project, and word is they’ve got another one coming up right on its heels.
“So much of it sounds nothing like Ozomatli,” says Abers. “We’re still working on it, but let’s say there are 25 songs. It kinda sounds like 25 different bands.”
Watch Ozomatli and Talib Kweli perform together for Red Bull Soundclash:
In due time, Ozo will get to work on the follow-up to 2010’s "Fire Away," the band’s fifth studio album. “For 'Fire Away,' we just went into the studio and started jamming,” Abers remembers. “There wasn’t a thought-up thing where we wanted it to sound like this or that. Normally we’d have more stuff in the can that we’d be working on and trying out live.
"That stuff, I don’t think any of it was tried out live before we decided that it was going to go on the record. In that sense it was more of a risk, but I don’t think the next record is going to sound anything like the last one.”
Whatever route they end up taking, a few things are certain: the songs be vivacious, uplifting and full of flavor, and when the band comes to play them in your town, you won’t need to hire a babysitter.
Source: ChinaShop Magazine
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