Over the past 18 years, LA culture-mashers Ozomatli have sung about everything from immigration protests to Hurricane Katrina. But with their album Ozomatli presents OzoKidz (Hornblow/Megaforce/RED) the band has immersed themselves in a new world of storytelling, one with a very different list of priorities…. photosynthesis, spelling, balloons, germs, skateboards, and a runaway moose.
Ozomatli presents OzoKidz has been released to critical acclaim, with a resounding thumbs up coming from the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Time Out Chicago, and the New York Daily News. iTunes labeled the record as the “Best Children’s Album of 2012”, and NPR has profiled OzoKidz on their nationally syndicated show ‘Tell Me More‘ in January.
The idea for OzoKidz struck the band after they were asked by PBS to record a series of songs as part of the network’s children’s programming. After writing “Opposable Thumbs,” “Nouns,” and “Measurement,” the prospect of creating an original album of their own took shape. Offers to record songs for Warner Brother’s ‘Elmo’s Musical Monsterpiece’ and ‘Happy Feet II’ video games sealed the deal: OzoKidz was meant to be. Armed with new songs, the band started playing family-friendly concerts, landed spots on the Yo Gabba Gabba tour, and headed into the studio.
Ozomatli presents Ozokidz – “Balloon Fest”
Recorded at Brushfire Studios in LA with producer Robert Carranza (Jack Johnson, Mars Volta), OzoKidz sounds remarkably like Ozomatli with its effortless bilingualism and trademark swirl of styles and genres — this is very much an Ozomatli album without precedent.
Immersing themselves in OzoKidz has resonated with the band members in a way they may not have initially anticipated. Bassist “Wil-Dog” Abers said, “just when I thought I was a seasoned professional performer, we started doing shows for children… and realized I still had a lot to learn!” while singer Asdru Sierra enjoys the fact that longtime Ozo fans can bring their children to an OzoKidz show, “that we can connect with our fans and their children is such a huge and special thing. It’s more intimate and full of sincerity. It’s a true FAMILY show.”
But it all comes as no surprise to percussionist Jiro Yamaguchi, who adds, “Ozomatli has always been for the kids!! There is a freedom in playing OzoKidz music, as we can express ourselves as the kids we all really are.”
Forged in the post-uprising days of 1990s Los Angeles, Ozomatli have worked to spread their music and their message across as many platforms and to as many audiences as possible. They’ve played an endless string benefits and fundraisers, toured the world as cultural ambassadors of the U.S. State Department, won multiple Grammy Awards, written music for films like A Better Life, toured with comedian Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias, given their own TED talk, and played with the Boston Pops, New York Pops, and The National Symphony.
For more information on Ozomatli, visit ozomatli.com.