Kid Rock Is Cool
In defense of the most reviled genre of them all.
By Rob Harvilla|Posted Monday, March 4, 2013, at 5:45 AM
Ah, right, that’s the other problem: People hate children’s music. Viscerally. “A vast amount of it is rampantly shit.” “An endless sea of monotony that crushes one’s humanity with unrelenting waves of banal tedium.” “That high-pitched woman/child/cartoon puppy voice! Singing and ruining great songs, ruining my son’s taste in music, ruining my life.” “These are songs designed to split your head open and spit inside your skull. I hate them. I hope they die.” There’s an actual album called Kids Music for Parents That Hate Children’s Music, which features both Lisa Loeb and a song called “Pants on Your Head.” (Separately, alas.) And so forth.
I guess I should hate it too, what with my allegedly professional critical acumen. But the more I listen to guys like Dan Zanes—who traded in (and up) his grown-up music career with the Del Fuegos to become the tall, lanky, infectiously affable, cartoonishly coifed bard of original children’s music—the more I appreciate kids’ music as its own thing, not just a more cheerful and less morally vacant version of my thing.
Another fine option is Ozomatli, the two-decades-old, multilingual Los Angeles Latin-rock institution that took the all-ages plunge with last year’s OzoKidz (forgive them that second Z) and is at least trying to change one particularly troubling aspect of kids’ music: It is generally very, very, very, very white. (Frontman Asdru Sierra, upon becoming a father himself, was grateful to Dora the Explorer, though he couldn’t help but notice that “her accent, as someone who speaks Spanish fluently—it really needed a lot of work.”) His band’s own foray into the biz is a bit stiff (songs about exercising, songs about spelling, songs about not being afraid that quote John F. Kennedy), but on the other hand, thank God we’ve finally got a rocksteady song called “Germs.”
And then there are the band’s revamped live shows, complete with a dance floor, a special section for the kids so adults aren’t blocking their view of the stage, and daylight. “Children! That’s the purest kind of fan you can have,” Sierra told me, raving that the shows are “always a really happy thing. There’s no fights in the crowd. There’s no girls in the front trying to be too sexy. It’s a totally different vibe. It’s family. It’s like hanging out with my wife and kids.
Read the entire article at www.slate.com/Ozokidz
FOR AGES 7-12
The Los Angeles-based band has been making grown-up music for 15 years, writing about multiculturalism in their hometown, making them a regional treasure. They were named cultural ambassadors by the U.S. State Department. With OzoKidz, they bring their brand of Latino, hip-hop, salsa, dancehall, samba and funk to the kindie world. “They have a different sound than anything I’ve heard this year,” she says. “Kids go crazy at their shows.”
Product Review: OzoKidz CD by Ozomatli (All Ages)
Acclaimed Latin Fusion Group, Ozomatli, Creates a Kid’s Album!
Ever heard of the band Ozomatli? They are a huge musical fusion band from Los Angeles, even being named U.S. State Cultural Ambassadors in 2007, who started out 18 years ago playing everything from hip hop and funk to salsa and cumbia. They are Grammy award winners and have traveled the globe promoting their music. But are they considered children’s music? No, nope, naw, not so much. Until now. Ozomatli is releasing their first children’s album entitled OzoKidz that drops on September 25, right in the middle of Hispanic Heritage Month. Excellent! If you know Ozomatli and their music, you may be a little surprised to hear them talking about avoiding germs and taking care of trees, but it works! It’s catchy and totally danceable with all the bilingual goodness of Ozomatli. Check out the free download of Balloon Fest and I dare you not to tap your toes to the beat. My daughter LOVES it!
Visit www.mommasbacon.com/Ozokidz for the full article
review by j. poet
Ozomatli is the Aztec God associated with dance and laughter, and this ten-man collective of Black-Chicano-Cuban-Japanese-Jewish-Filipino musicians has always had an uplifting party vibe, without forsaking their progressive left-leaning beliefs. Their international musical vision knows no boundaries, and they range freely through punk, merengue, R&B, jaroch, Egyptian-Hindi funk, rap, rock, and Latin jazz. On this, the band’s first album aimed at kids, they don’t talk down to their young audience either musically or lyrically. No matter what music a kid is familiar with, Ozokidz is going to stretch his or her boundaries with a batch of buoyant party anthems. This is kid’s music that will also have adults up and grooving to the beat. “Germs” has an old-school reggae/ska vibe, with sparkling keyboard work and a singalong chorus — “Germs are everywhere” — with a serious message about cleanliness. “Exercise” would be perfect for an adult aerobics class and, again, has a serious message about keeping fit, with a galloping calypso/salsa/cumba beat that’ll have you instantly up and sweating. “Skateboard” sound like a surf rock anthem you’ve never heard before, like the Beach Boys gone skate punk but with a lot more energy than they’ve shown in decades. “Moose on the Loose” has a big, stomping reggae/funk beat and tells the tongue-in-cheek tale of following a moose through the forest. The lyric describes the intimidating majesty of the animal and in the end, the moose escapes, while the children cheer.
For a preview of the album, visit www.allmusic.com/ozokidz
Like a children’s menu in a restaurant offering bland, easy-to-digest alternatives to the real thing, music aimed at children is all too often trite and one dimensional. Both chef and musician think: the cheesier, the better! Of course, some compromises do need to be made, but a lack of sophistication in the audience should not mean a lack of quality in the music. Thankfully, the days of ham-fisted, guitar-wielding singers and Yamaha DX7 chimes are behind us. The renaissance in children’s music continues, sales are high (in an otherwise stagnant market) and established bands are giving it serious consideration.
For example, Grammy-winning, LA-based Ozomatli, have created a side project just for kids, Ozokidz. Known for smart, socially-aware lyrics and a high-energy blend of Latin, hip-hop, rock, funk, salsa, reggae; Ozomatli have produced six albums since forming in 1995. Ozokidz is their first offering targeted at children and it is a high-energy party from start to finish. The grooves are very varied, but none fail to make your body move. Dorian – not the most active kid – played the album twice in succession and jumped, span, ran and bounced around the house throughout. I can’t deny joining him. Excitement is maintained by the use of a wide variety of sounds. Most bands use a fairly consistent set of tones throughout an album (and possibly the lifetime of the band), but on Ozokidz each song is treated individually, i.e. the drums on We Are The Ozokidz sound like a real drumkit in the room, bringing the band and the kids together; on Sun and Moon an other-worldliness is suggested by light, electronic drums; the drums on Like Your Birthday rock the party with booming club-ready kick drum. For the short attention spans of young children, this type of variety is very appealing. The overall production is very modern – brash, clean and crisp – which suits the music and ties everything together.
Read the entire at shapesounds.com/blog/ozokidz/
ozomatli :: ozokidz cd
September 26, 2012 by Carinn
Before I was given the opportunity to share Ozomatli‘s new album OzoKidz I had never heard of the celebrated Los Angeles culture mashers. Given that I’m buried deep in the Mitten State that’s not to big of a surprise (that would be Michigan for all you who are wondering what in the world I was talking about).
Thankfully both my kids and I can now enjoy Ozomatli’s mish-mosh of musical genres. They somehow manage to meld hip hop and salsa, dancehall and cumbia, samba and funk, merengue and comparsa, East LA R&B and New Orleans second line, Jamaican ragga and Indian raga into their own unique sound that really works.
OzoKidz is their first family-friendly release for kids and it was instantly a hit at our house. The first day we opened the CD I was able to trick my girls into picking up the living room with the promise that: “If you pick up you can listen to ‘Moose On the Loose’ again.”
While “Moose On the Loose” is still their favorite song from the album, they can easily sing along with each and every track. Each song is information based and they use the music to tell some great stories while teaching your kids.
For example, “Trees” is all about how trees grow and how photosynthesis works and “Germs” helped Miss M learn that not all germs are bad (i.e. bacteria).
Visit www.thesimplemoms.com/Ozokidz for the entire article!
Our Ozokidz album will be in stores on Tuesday, September 25th, and we can’t wait for you guys to hear it!
Not only will you have new music, if you purchase the Ozokidz album at participating independent record stores, you will receive a FREE Ozokidz chalk box that includes a link to the bonus track, “Vamos A Cantar.”
Even better, with the chalk box you’ll be able to participate in the Ozokidz Chalk art contests! All you have to do is recreate the Ozokidz album cover art on your driveway or sidewalk. OR for the bonus prize, you can create a visual representation of the bonus track “Vamos A Cantar,” using the Ozokidz chalk. Send us photos of your artwork and we’ll pick the best ones. Winners will receive an Ozokidz prize pack! Send photos to email@example.com. When sending photos, please include the Ozokidz chalk box in the photo.
For a list of record stores participating in the chalk box giveaway, please visit: www.recordstoreday.com
Be sure to call the store ahead to confirm they have the items!
BY Jordannah Elizabeth | PUBLISHED: Wednesday, September 5th, 2012
The long critically acclaimed Latin fusion group, Ozomatli has never been afraid to try new things. After years of creating Latin music to a global audience, this Los Angeles-based band has stretched its wings to other facets of their music audiences.
Remezcla is proud to share a free download from Ozomatli’s upcoming children’s’ album, OzoKids, out worldwide Sept. 25th (read our recent Ozo interview HERE for more info on the record). This adorable track “Balloon Fest” — which is actually a lot more post modern, funky and well produced than one might think a kids song would be — is a part of a series of instructional songs to help children learn. PBS commissioned Ozomatli to create songs that will inspire children to learn while having a blast! “Balloon Fest” and OzoKidz do just that; these are fun and strongly composed songs that will make any person with a pulse get up and dance, and bring out the kid in you.
Ozomalti has once again found innovation in being creative, talented and using their time and energy to help them little squits learn, dance, and have fun. Enjoy this new track off OzoKidz, and never underestimate the power of educational music.
Download “Balloon Fest” for your kid, niece, nephew, li’l cousin, girlfriend’s baby, or for yourself here!
Pre-order the album now!
Available on September 25th
By Reed Johnson
August 27, 2012, 12:45 p.m.
If you’ve ever attended an Ozomatli concert, you know it’s sort of like being swept up in a Disneyland parade for adults. The unclassifiable L.A. band — OK, call its members Latino-hip-hop-reggae-rockers, if you must — is known for a kinetically feel-good performance style that has set audiences swaying and jumping from L.A. to Myanmar, where Ozo once toured on behalf of the U.S. State Department.
Now, the band has directed its youthful high spirits into a new record aimed at an even bouncier demographic. “Ozomatli Presents Ozokidz,” which will be released Sept. 25, is the group’s debut kids disc. After roughly 18 years of singing about gang violence, immigration and other R-rated issues, Ozo with “Ozokidz” turns its rhyming skills to topics such as the importance of taking care of trees and avoiding germs, skateboards, spelling and a moose run amok. These crazily catchy tunes may require the guardians of public morality to come up with a new parental warning label: Prolonged Exposure May Cause You to Start Singing “Moose on the Loose” in Your Office Cubicle.
Come to think of it, most office cubicles these days could use a little levity.
Over the weekend, we spoke by phone with Ozo bassist Wil-Dog Abers about the new project and the art of channeling your inner child when you’re a middle-age musician with children of your own. Here’s an edited transcript of the conversation.
Read the entire article at www.latimes.com/Ozokidz