os Angeles culture-mashers Ozomatli have gone from being hometown heroes to being named "U.S. State Department Cultural Ambassadors." The band members have always juggled two key identities: They are the voice of their city and they're citizens of the world. On Friday, Nov. 30, Ozomatli returns to Maui for a world music and culture experience in the moonlit Yokouchi Pavilion at Maui Arts & Cultural Center (MACC).
Ozomatli is known for its wide array of musical styles--a notorious urban-Latino collision of hip-hop and salsa, dancehall and cumbia, samba and funk, merengue and comparsa, East L.A. rhythm and blues, Jamaican reggae and Indian raga--but it works! The musicians have long followed a key mantra: They'll take you around the world by taking you around L.A.
Originally formed to play at a Los Angeles labor protest a decade-and-a-half ago, Ozomatli spent the early days participating in everything from earthquake prep "hip-hop ghetto" plays at inner-city elementary schools to community activist events, protests and city fundraisers. Ever since, they have been synonymous with their city.
On Friday, Nov. 30, Ozomatli returns to Maui for a world music and culture experience in the moonlit Yokouchi Pavilion at Maui Arts & Cultural Center.
Ozomatli music has been taken up by both the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Clippers. The band recorded the street view travelogue, "City of Angels," as a new urban anthem, and was featured as part of the prominent L.A. figures imaging campaign, "We Are 4 L.A." on NBC. In recognition of their efforts, the City of Los Angeles officially declared April 23 each year as "Ozomatli Day."
The band members have built a formidable reputation over five, full-length studio albums and a relentless touring schedule for taking party rocking so seriously that it becomes new school musical activism. This activism has garnered them worldwide attention: They were invited by the U.S. State Department to serve as official cultural ambassadors on a series of government-sponsored international tours to Asia, Africa, South America and the Middle East--tours that link Ozomatli to a tradition of cultural diplomacy that includes the likes of Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong.
The band's music reaches all ages and tastes, and the "Ozo" concert at the MACC is sure to get all who attend up on the dance floor.
Tickets to Ozomatli are $30 in advance, $35 on show day and a $55 for a VIP experience on Morgado Lanai (plus applicable fees).
Call the MACC Box Office at 242-SHOW (7469) or go online to MauiArts.org.