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I’ve liked Ozomatli from the start. They’re a very politically conscious band. The name of the band stands for the Aztec god of music and dance, and that kind of drew me to them in the first place.

Describing their music — [according to bandmembers] it’s like being in a car driving through L.A. with your windows down, everything you hear blasting in other cars along the road: Latin, jazz, salsa, hip-hop, funk, rock…that’s what this band is all about.

And the live shows are great. They have this ritual before they go on, at any venue where it’s possible: they’ll come in and then leave the stage through the crowd while playing percussion instruments. And that got them in trouble a few years ago at South by Southwest [music conference in Austin, Texas].

After the gig, they were making the transition from electric to percussion instruments while coming off the stage. They continued playing and singing as they were coming up the aisle and out the front door into the street. There was a conga line of about 500 people. Everyone was in the street, and the next thing you know, there’s tear gas flying, arrests are being made, bullhorns are going off. Ozomatli’s manager and two of the band members got arrested.

I tried talking to them about it once, but they didn’t seem eager to share the details. I think they had litigation pending at the time.

DJ: Oz Medina

Station: KPRI/102.1 FM

Shift: 3–7 p.m., Monday–Friday

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