Two-time Grammy Award winning, Los Angeles-based band, OZOMATLI, are making their mark on 2022 by releasing new music! Marching On is their first studio album since the critically acclaimed, 2017 reggae twisted Non-Stop: Mexico to Jamaica in 2017 and marks their debut with new label, Blue Élan Records. Out today, the maraca shaking single “Sacude” is now available on all digital services – give a listen, HERE.
Influential Los Angeles based radio station, KCRW, premiered the track on “Morning Becomes Eclectic” yesterday and hailed it saying, "You’ll find grooves for miles in this slow burner, complete with all the hallmarks of a classic Ozomatli joint: lively rhythm, playful yet poignant lyrics, and searing solos that extend beyond mere guitars."
Vocalist Asdru Sierra explains the meaning behind the new single, “’Sacude’ is a song about shaking off toxicity. Poetically it describes how the guy in the band that plays maracas has something strange in his instrument that rattles funny and throws off his groove. The maracas are like an extension of our souls in this case. At first a guy in the band that's his friend tells him there’s something off with him. He points out that he is sick with toxicity and he's worried. But he needs to deal with it. Then during the chorus, the pregones are the maraca player expelling his toxicity,” He continues, “We all have toxicity in our lives, whether it's from other people or our own addictions or insecurities, everyone has experienced toxicity. So, we all aim to clean out our maracas to get rid of whatever makes it sound bad to continue grooving.”
Last year, the band debuted two new singles from the album – the soulful grooves of “Mi Destino,” featuring guests B-Real (Cypress Hill/Prophets of Rage) and vocalist, Gaby Moreno, was featured on KCRW while the freestyle dance party tune, “Fellas” which features Lisa Lisa of Cult Jam fame and the ladies of J.J. Fad, became a sought out duet on tik tok.
Produced by David Garza (Fiona Apple), the album features the six core members: Asdru Sierra (lead vocals, trumpet, keyboards), Raul Pacheco (lead vocals, guitar), Willy (Wil-Dog) Abers (bass, vocals), Justin Poree (rap, vocals, percussion), Ulises Bella (saxophone, melodica, clarinet, guitar, requinto, keyboards, vocals) and Jiro Yamaguchi (drums, percussion) as well as the previously mentioned special guests.
While the basic tracks were all completed at Sonic Ranch, due to the pandemic, other parts of the record were completed remotely. Despite the often-terrifying uncertainty of the world in 2020, ultimately Ozo were able to complete Marching On, which turned out to be an almost prescient song and album title. As the lyrics to the track clarify: “Yeah we keep marching till the justice reigns / And the world sings the freedom’s song / Yeah we keep marching while the battle rages / As the new generations born / Till we right the wrongs.”
No matter the circumstances, Ozomatil are driven: Driven to make themselves, their music and the world a better place. And that begins at home—which, for Ozo, is music and lyrics. “The song is kind of like a sacred responsibility,” concludes Raul. “It takes hard core passion to push whatever the song is to the best it could be. I take it very personally.”