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Ozomatli imagines one world under a groove.

In spite of the undeniable danceability of its music, the collective still gets little love from radio. Even so, mainstream exposure is coming from some unexpected places. Ozomatli has appeared in the film Never Been Kissed, in an episode of HBO's Sex and the City and on the popular PBS drama American Family.

While filming the American Family episode, Ozo's members traveled south to where California's glamour meets Tijuana's grime. There, they gave all the water they had to the desperate Mexican people trying to cross the border to collect on America's promise. "We try to put that desperation into the music," explains Sierra.

In fact, Street Signs' "(Who Discovered) America?" is about that desperation, that promise, and the way America often betrays its immigrants. Sierra is optimistic, however, that through his musical success he can show his children -- a five-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter -- that they can do anything they want. Expectedly, this hope extends from the personal to the political. "It would be great," he proclaims, "if we can reach just a few people who voted for Bush."

Oz-fest: Wil-Dog Abers (from left), Jiro Yamaguchi 
(foreground), Raul Pacheco, Uli Bella, Justin Porée 
and Asdru Sierra are Ozomatli.
Oz-fest: Wil-Dog Abers (from left), Jiro Yamaguchi (foreground), Raul Pacheco, Uli Bella, Justin Porée and Asdru Sierra are Ozomatli.

Though Sierra may not get his wish, Ozomatli's lyrics are definitely intended to provoke thought and emotion. But even without words, its combination of irresistible grooves and a conscientious melding of sounds from across the globe makes an undeniable and potent political statement. Sierra may not have much to say about his group, but the music speaks for itself.

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