Ozomatli’s messages and music, sung in both Spanish and English, need no translation. Circa 2022, Ozo’s new songs, stronger-than-ever brotherhood, and the potent emotional impetus behind Marching On further cements the legacy that began with the band’s 1998 self-titled debut.
If the city of Los Angeles had a soundtrack, it might just be Ozomatli’s music.
With musician/producer David Garza (Fiona Apple, Sparta) producing in pre-pandemic 2020 at El Paso’s Sonic Ranch, Ozo were honored by esteemed musical guests who contributed to the recording including Cypress Hill’s B-Real, Guatemalan singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno, J.J. FAD of "Supersonic" fame, and Lisa Lisa of, of course, Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam.
While the basic tracks were all completed at Sonic Ranch, due to the pandemic, other parts of the record were completed remotely. Despite the often-terrifying uncertainty of the world during this time, Ozo were ultimately able to complete Marching On, which turned out to be an almost prescient song and album title. As the lyrics to the track clarify: “Yeah we keep marching till the justice reigns, and the world sings the freedom’s song, yeah we keep marching while the battle rages, as the new generations born, till we right the wrongs.”
Since forming in 1995, Ozomatli’s collaborative, energetic blend of multi-cultural music and activism has earned the band three Grammy awards, four Hollywood Bowl shows, a TED Talk, and much more. But more importantly, Ozo has inspired and energized listeners worldwide through their music and activism, even at gigs in locales like Burma and Mongolia.