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Breaking the Law 

Breaking the Law

By Alejandro Pérez

Los Angeles-based genre-defying Ozomatli plays equally well with party animals and political activists, both of which San Antonio offers in abundance. Their multi-ethnic, progressive sound seamlessly combines their diverse influences - from salsa and samba to hip-hop and funk - and, on their recently released EP Coming Up (a preview of their long-anticipated new album) adds a touch of Middle Eastern and Northern African inspired nuances. They're at their crossover best, however, in collaboration with the Kumbia Kings on "Mi Gente," a rousing, anthem-worthy collaboration that embodies the soulful essence of both groups. Listen closely and you'll hear a call for social action and sacrifice behind the cumbia beats and horn solos. (Just don't confuse it with the beer commercial that makes a mockery of their message.)


Thursday, April 22
La Zona Rosa
612 W. 4th Street, Austin

Last month, as Ozomatli was winding down their SXSW set, they spilled out into the streets, where the combination of horns blaring, drums thumping, and people dancing attracted the attention of Austin's finest. Instead of giving them a ticket, Austin police officers took Ozo's members in and arrested them - which explains the proliferation of "Free Ozo" shirts two days later. Despite this warm reception by the boys in blue, over the years Ozomatli has cultivated quite a fan base an hour and a half north on I-35, due as much to the strength of their music as the exuberance of their performances. Only five weeks after their scrape with the law, they return to Austin for an April 22 show at La Zona Rosa. I don't mind the drive to see personal favorites, but I'd rather see them in town, with mi gente.

By Alejandro Pérez

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September 22, 2021

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