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Taken from The Scotsman (Sep 01, 2018)

Music review: Ozomatli, Stereo, Glasgow

CALIFORNIAN collective Ozomatli have been supplying the Golden State sunshine for more than two decades now, but their multi-cultural musical celebration feels more vital than ever - pulling down barriers between the US and Mexico (for starters) where others seek to build walls.


Ozomatli went on a seamless globe-trotting expedition. Picture: Ryan Miller/REX/Shutterstock

Stereo, Glasgow ****

Glasgow was primed to welcome the band with open arms and dancing feet on only their second visit to Scotland. Any Monday night inhibitions or lethargy evaporated on contact with their superb musicianship, perpetually upbeat goodwill and irresistible grooves.

Fittingly for a group whose multi-instrumentalist members have Latino, Jewish and Japanese roots, musical boundaries melted away as they whipped up a Los Angeles barrio party, with percussion and brass to the fore and a touch of gypsy verve to their sonic stew.

Funk and hip-hop quickly entered the picture too when Chicago rapper Chali 2na stepped to the fore, bringing some of the relaxed, mellifluous character of his previous band Jurassic 5 mixed through with the hotter, hectic influence of George Clinton.

Next stops on their seamless globe-trotting expedition included a Caribbean knees-up, shot through with dub reggae rhythms, the distinctive wheeze of melodica, klezmer clarinet and some soulful Cuban vocals from trumpeter Asdrubal Sierra.

Yet there was still room to ramp up the carnival atmosphere further with some Afrobeat rhythms and brass, before they erased the barrier between band and audience completely on a final foray down into the crowd for a seriously frantic funky finish, fuelled by a shot of Latin jazz favourite Tequila.


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