For more than 15 years, Ozomatli has been entertaining adult audiences with its fusion of diverse musical styles, including salsa, jazz, funk, reggae, rap, cumbia, merengue and hip hop… But now the band’s going to the kids.
The Los Angeles-based band has just released a new album of music dedicated to the youngsters, appropriately named Ozokidz.
The original concept arose when band members commented on the continuous absence of friends and fans from their live concerts, according to vocalist and trumpet player Asdrubal “Azdru” Sierra.
“We knew a lot of fans didn’t come to our shows because they couldn’t get a babysitter, so that’s where we got the idea of doing concerts that were kid-friendly as well,” he said.
Their idea finally came together when PBS television asked them to record some educational tracks for its online children’s programming. The band agreed, knowing they’d be recording music they would be proud of.
“My kids played their records for me and they were horrible to listen to, which is why we wanted to make a disc that grownups could enjoy too,” said Sierra.
Ozomatli may be known for its vocal activist viewpoints. But Ozokids won’t get political. Comprised of 14 songs including “Piraña,” “Let’s Go to the Movies,” “Germs” and “Changuito,” the album doesn’t sound like traditional children’s music. But each song has an educational message.
“We don’t want to get mixed up in politics but we do want to teach good manners, good behavior and the difference between good and bad,” Sierra said.