By Contributor on September 14, 2010

By Antonino D'Ambrosio

Ozomatli’s new album moves with the hum of history, inspiring those who listen to seek liberty and shake free of fear. The album is an enchanting musical journey propelled by songs like, “Nadas Por Free,” “Elysian Persuasion,” “Caballito,” and the anthem-like “Gay Vatos in Love,” which is the album’s fulcrum. “It’s another issue for us about the underdog that we can connect with as individuals to the rights of people across all spectrums,” Pacheco explains.

With Pacheco on vocals, each verse presents a different scenario, including the pain of coming out:

Javi and Kike with their girlfriends in the car

Fronting on Crenshaw, knowing who they are

It also addresses the hatred and violence gay/lesbian/transgender people persistently face:

Gabriel says amor es amor

But Angie Zapata is lying on the dance floor

(Zapata was an eighteen-year-old transgender woman in Colorado, killed in 2008 by a sexual partner who discovered she was male.)

Among some fans and people in the Chicano and Latino community, there has been a backlash against the tune. But Pacheco dismisses it. “We can be fighting for our own issues and not see how the gay and lesbian rights movement is connected to our quest for a better humanity all across the board,” Pacheco says. Being from California where the 2008 ban on gay marriage (Proposition 8) passed provided more weight to the matter. “When we were making this record we felt that there has got to be a way to challenge ourselves and our fans,” Pacheco says. “We’re not going to do the same old thing for safety’s sake.”

Celebration. Creativity. Community. Connection. These are the bedrock principles of Ozomatli. “It’s never been our style to hammer people over the head,” Pacheco explains. “When we are talking about political and social issues, we are talking about the recognition of the other as a good thing.”

This is but a small excerpt of the profile of Ozomatli that appeared in the September issue of The Progressive. To read the entire profile, and to subscribe to The Progressive for only $14.97, (a huge discount!), click here.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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