Multi Percussionist Justin
Poree is a three time Grammy winner and a founding member of the band
Ozomatli where he plays all kinds of percussion instruments, sings and
produces. With the band, Justin has done six recordings, has recently put out a
children’s album called Ozo Kidz and has toured extensively in Japan,
Europe, African, Australia and the U.S.
music has always been internationalist in its scope, seamlessly blending and
transforming traditions from Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle
East. What other band could record a song once described as “Arabic
Ozomatli, Justin was invited by the U.S. State Department to serve as an
official Cultural Ambassadors on a series of government-sponsored international
tours in Asia, Africa, South America and the Middle East… tours that linked
Ozomatli to a tradition of cultural diplomacy that also includes esteemed
artists like Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and Louis Armstrong.
places like Tunisia, Egypt, India, Jordan, and Nepal, Ozo has played rousing
free public concerts, offered musical workshops and master classes, has visited
arts centers, summer camps, youth rehabilitation centers and even a Palestinian
refugee camp. They’ve listened to performances by local musicians and often
joined in for impromptu jam sessions with student bands and community
musicians. Most shows ended up with kids dancing on stage and their new
collaborators sitting in for a tabla solo or a run on the slide guitar.
the case of Nepal, the band’s trip was part of a celebration of the country’s
newly ratified peace accord. Their concert, which drew over 14,000 people, was
a historic one. Ozo were the first Western band to do a concert in Nepal, and
the event was the country’s first peaceful mass gathering that was not a protest
or religious ceremony. They then went on to be the first contemporary western
band to play public concerts in Mongolia (drawing a crowd of 25,000), and to
perform in Myanmar during the height of military rule.
Ozomatli also traveled to China, South Africa, Madagascar, Vietnam and Thailand
performing free concerts and extending humanitarian outreach, includingHIV and
AIDS care clinics, visits to schools for the blind and deaf, orphanages,
Methadone clinics, and outreach programs to refugees and disadvantaged youth.
Ozomatli were honored to accompany the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Celebrating
the Pops 125th Anniversary. Since that first orchestral collaboration, they
have gone on to perform Ozo classics live with the National Symphony Orchestra
at the Kennedy Center, the Colorado Symphony, the San Diego Symphony, and the
New York Pops.
Ozomatli made an appearance at TEDxSF – the first musical talk ever given at
any TED conference – mixing discussion and sound to explore the challenges and
promises of musical identities in a global age.
addition to their substantial history licensing their music for film,
television and video games, the band has also gone on to compose and score,
recently contributing music to Happy Feet 2 and Elmo’s Musical Monsterpiece for
Warner Brothers Interactive, SIMS for EA Games, music for PBS Kids, the motion
pictures A Better Life and Harlistas, and Gabriel Iglesias Presents Stand-Up
Revolution on Comedy Central..
past few years have seen the band focused on Ozomatli Presents “Ozokidz”, a
special family friendly set geared towards performing for children and adults
alike. The album, released on Hornblow Recordings in fall of 2012 has been
recognized by the media as a standout release in the children’s music genre,
with plaudits coming from NPR, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, New York Daily
News, iTunes and more.