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Guest DJ Ozomatli Covers Mexican Classics With A Reggae Groove

The band Ozomatli in a moment of subdued hilarity.
Cynthia Perez
Courtesy of the artist
The band Ozomatli in a moment of subdued hilarity.

It's hard to believe that Ozomatli has been making albums for over 20 years. I remember meeting the members of the band at a music conference in Miami just as they were introducing their vision to the industry. Since then, Ozomatli has traveled the globe waving its multicultural flag high and proud, starting with the music that is the Chicano soundtrack of SoCal and running it through influences from all over the world.

The band's latest album, Non-Stop: Mexico>Jamaica, is just what it says: classic songs from Mexico (and a couple of Mexican-American hits) re-imagined through Jamaican reggae, rocksteady and dancehall. It's a clever idea that, in the wrong hands, could be a train wreck of pastiche. But with Ozomatli at the helm, the result is just the opposite.

One of the joys of this album is listening to the guys in the band talk about making it. Or just hearing them talk about anything — I don't think I've ever laughed this hard during an interview.

Put on your earbuds and prepare to be entertained by the music and the fun.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Felix Contreras is co-creator and host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.