Think about South Florida's intimate relationship with Cuba and the Caribbean, and the influence it's had on that region's music scene. That same sort of cross-cultural, stylistic leg-humping goes on in Southern California across the Mexican-American border, and there's no better example than L.A.'s Ozomatli. The bilingual, genre-smashing, Latin-funk-rock-rap outfit came together more than a decade ago as the original L.A. party band, but it wasn't until its defining role as agent provocateur at the 2000 Democratic National Convention that Ozomatli found a theme for its party. The group has withstood a rotating lineup of drummers, horn men, DJs and MCs yet has stayed consistently anchored by bassist Wil-Dog Abers' upbeat, politically charged songwriting. With a live show that's as full-blown ecstatic as any you've ever seen (that's a guarantee), Ozo is a No World Border phenomenon that will reaffirm your belief in the power of music.
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Jonathan Zwickel

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