Los Angeles-based Latin fusion rock band Ozomatli will perform on the Quad of Santa Fe University of Art and Design (SFUAD) on April 27 as part of its Artists for Positive Social Change series. The 2012-2013 academic year focuses on "Art and Political Activism," with the university hosting events, lectures and performances from relevant artists who provide in-depth exploration of the theme. Tickets will be required for the Ozomatli concert, which is free and open to both students and the greater Santa Fe community. Details will be announced at a later date on the SFUAD website.
Ozomatli has spent 18 years working diligently to spread its message of peace, communication and understanding through their music. The band is a recipient of the Local Heroes Award by Los Angeles PBS station KCET-TV, recognizing their longstanding accomplishments and community service throughout Southern California. The City of Los Angeles has also declared April 23rd "Ozomatli Day" in recognition of the band’s service to the city. They’ve also been recognized as global activists through the National Council of LA Raza's Humanitarian Award, and have performed twice for President Barack Obama.
"Ozomatli originally came together to play at an L.A. labor protest in the 90’s, and their band has since been internationally recognized for their outspoken activist role," said David Scheinbaum, director of photography and artist in residence who leads SFUAD’s Artists for Positive Social Change. "I’m excited to have been able to invite a group to campus that not only embodies the level of excellence both in musicianship but also in their commitment to the ethics and values we’re trying to present to our students. With their great following here in New Mexico, it’s an honor to host them on the SFUAD campus and also be able to invite the community for free."
In conjunction with Ozomatli’s visit to the SFUAD campus, university artist in residence Brian Hardgroove will mentor a new student band formed specifically to open for Ozomatli during their April concert. Auditions are currently taking place. Hardgroove was also deeply involved in last year’s Artists for Positive Social Change series, which centered around hip-hop as a medium for cultural change. During the initiative’s culminating week of events, Hardgroove gave a lecture to students about the social responsibilities of artists and mentored the members of Inter-City Connection, the student band that was formed to open for Public Enemy. Inter-City Connection will again perform during this year’s concert. Steven Paxton, chair of SFUAD's Contemporary Music Department, cites this project as "a great opportunity for students in the music department to collaborate with talented musicians from across the university, and to be mentored by an experienced music professional such as Brian Hardgroove."
The members of Ozomatli are no strangers to New Mexico, having performed in the state several times. "Ozomatli performances have been some of the most exciting and energized concerts I’ve ever attended personally," added Scheinbaum.
"Just being who we are and just doing what we’re doing with music at this time is very political," Ozomatli bassist Wil-Dog Abers has said. "The youth see us up there and recognize themselves. So in a playful, party-type of way, I think it’s real easy for this band to get dangerous. We are starting to realize just how big of a voice we actually have as a band and how important it is for us to use it."
For more information about Ozomatli visit their website at http://ozomatli.com/ or check out the Ozomatli YouTube channel.
This year’s Artists for Positive Social Change series also consists of the Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here exhibit; a campus mural painting, lecture and Q&A by artist and graphic designer Shepard Fairey; performance and campus presentations by Vancouver singer/songwriter, Kate Reid; among other events.