Sound Check: Ozomatli Continue to Break Boundaries with their Fifth Album

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Los Angeles–based act Ozomatli have been combining music and politics ever since forming 15 years ago. And as cultural ambassadors to the U.S., the band's multi-culti members have traveled around the world spreading their message while entertaining listeners with a specially-made blend of hip-hop, funk, rock, reggae and Latin rhythms. Their upcoming fifth album, Fire Away (out April 20; Mercer Street Records/Downtown Records), continues this tradition with a couple of socially-conscious songs that will make you listen (and hopefully, think).

The first single f rom the record, "It's Only Paper," talks about money's reputation as the root of all evil: "They say that money is to blame but it's only paper/... No one ever found joy from paper by itself/ It's the choices that you make, what you do" sings guest vocalist Jack Johnson about taking responsibility for your actions.

"Gay Vatos in Love" is a pro-gay marriage track inspired by Proposition 8—California's ban on same-sex unions—that simply says "amor es amor." And though none of the group's members is homosexual, they are clear that everyone deserves a little love. "It is always a good time to challenge our own notions and boundaries of what can be," says vocalist Raul Pacheco. "Especially in the ever present natural need and quest for love. We say, let every person have the right to choose who and how they love one another."

Listen to the song here and let me know if you agree.

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About this author1

Grace Bastidas, Deputy Editor

Born and raised in Queens, New York, where more languages are spoken than anywhere in the world, Grace Bastidas is Latina’s Deputy Editor. She oversees lifestyle content, including topics as diverse as career, health and relationships, and occasionally writes about her own experiences in The Good Life section. As a writer, Grace’s work has appeared in The New York TimesNew York magazine, The Wall Street Journal and Travel + Leisure. She is fluent in Spanish.

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