L.A.'s Ozomatli has jumped into get-out-the-vote efforts with a new bilingual single titled "Respeto," Spanish for "respect," released yesterday as part of a joint project with the National Council of La Raza. The song is part of NCLR's campaign to draw out Latino voters for next month's midterm elections.
"Vota por la justicia (vote for justice," the refrain goes, "vote for respect."
In a news release, lead singer Raul Pacheco provided his take: "The simple act of voting has proven to be an important tool in the shaping of my surroundings," he said. “As a modern American Latino, it is a meaningful step to counter the specifically hateful and hurtful rhetoric that has been aimed at Latinos throughout this country.”
The single is downloadable for free on both the Ozomatli and NCLR websites.
It's kinda catchy, actually, danceable in that uniquely Ozomatli sort of way. The band is celebrating its 15th year of distilling salsa, cumbia, ska, reggae, merengue, jazz, hip-hop, funk and whatever else is heard on the streets of L.A. into a distinctive sound.
In December the band will also be playing corridos, performing winning entries in "The Corrido of L.A." contest sponsored by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which has appointed Ozomatli to be among the panel of judges.
Here's a short clip of the band playing "Chango," this blogger's personal favorite: