Ozomatli flashes ‘Street Signs’ at Copper | VailDaily.com

Ozomatli flashes ‘Street Signs’ at Copper

Jennifer Harper
Special to the Daily Punchy hiphip ensemble Ozomatli headline festivities at Copper Mountain Saturday evening in conjunction with opening weekend.

COPPER MOUNTAIN – Hip-hop, Latin, no-single-category-can-contain-it band Ozomatli is landing in the High Country on Saturday night for Copper Mountain’s opening weekend celebration, Lift Off.The band will be bringing its politically thought-provoking, socially conscious dance tunes that have won it two Grammy Awards to the Conference Center at Copper. Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root will be opening.Ozomatli fills the stage at performances with its 10 members, including Jiro Yamaguchi (percussion), Wil-Dog Abers (bass, vocals), Justin Poree (percussion, emcee, vocals), Asdrubal Sierra (trumpet, lead vocals), Raul Pacheco (guitar, lead vocals), Ulises Bella (tenor sax, clarinet, vocals), Mario Calire (drums), Rene “Spinobi” Dominguez (turn tables), Jabu (emcee) and Sheffer Bruton (trombone).The group will perform songs from its latest album, “Street Signs,” the band’s first full-length studio album in three years.The Summit Daily had a chance to talk to Pacheco about where the band’s been, where its headed and what it wants to give its fans.

Q: How has Ozomatli changed the most over the last decade? Has the popularity and success of the music changed the band?Pacheco: “No, I don’t think we’ve gotten popular enough for it to seem weird. We’re not in the major categories, so we don’t walk down the street and get accosted. It is cool, though, especially when you’re trying to get into a movie theater, and they say you don’t have to pay.”We’re just happy we can make a living as musicians. We always want to grow. “If anything’s changed, we go to the gym more to keep up with the kids.”Q: How has the new label, Concord Records, affected the band?

Pacheco: “Overall, they’ve been great. It’s been the best experience we’ve ever had with a label. They’re pretty noncontrolling. I think we’re open to their suggestions, but we’ve never felt pushed into a situation.”Q: The song “Believe” from the new album has a Middle Eastern feel. Where do your musical influences come from? Pacheco: “I think we’re always listening to music … (As far as the Middle Eastern influence) there was the motivation of 9/11 and all that. It’s kind of a one-sided issue. There’s this specific, small amount of people creating a lot of havoc, and we need to recognize the beauty of that culture instead of demonizing the whole of it. We think that things can get better that way rather than this war that’s going on.”Q: What do you hope people get out of listening to Ozomatli’s music? Do you just want people to be able to dance and have a good time or is it more about imparting social and political beliefs?

Pacheco: “I think it’s everything. There are some songs that are very silly that have no other meaning. There are some songs that are very specific in their politics. That range of what we are as humans is what we experience.”It’s normal to want to have fun and normal to have deep and thoughtful conversations about politics.”Jennifer Harper can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13622, or at jharper@summitdaily.com.Vail, Colorado

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