Former MC of Ozomatli, Kanetic Source, Needs Our Help for His Sick Child Fighting Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma

January 18, 2011

As a huge and loving fan of Ozomatli, a funky, world-music dance band from Los Angeles, one of my favorite aspects to the band in the early days was watching their MC Kanetic shake his booty…the man can dance, and with his big, contagious smile, it was hard not to follow his lead. After a few years Kanetic left the band. I often wondered what happened to my and my husband’s dancing coach.

Kanetic and I a few years ago

Well, the other night at an Ozomatli show (our first since coming back to the States, and oh-so-great to experience) Kanetic came out for a surprise appearance. But his stage time was not for fun and laughs…it was, instead, to help bring awareness to his son’s plight for a happy life…

Kanetic’s four year old son, Noah Stout, was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma on December 27, 2010 at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital (Stanford) in Palo Alto, California. Noah is a sweet and loving little four year old boy who was playing at home when suddenly he fell and was unable to stand up. His parent’s rushed him to Regional Hospital where the ER doctors decided to do a CT and MRI to ensure he had no major head injuries. To everyone’s surprise, they found a tumor and rushed Noah in an ambulance to Stanford Children’s Hospital. The Stanford Neuro Oncologists reviewed his MRI where he was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).

Here’s a message from the Stout Family:

Your help will support our son’s fight as well as give hope to parents who are dealing with this illness. All proceeds will be, not only for the benefit of our son Noah, but all children who are in this fight. We hope that if it’s Gods will, that we will cure our son and be the miracle that so many parents around the world have been waiting for. God is everything and the most merciful. Thank you for taking the time to read about our beautiful son, Noah. God Bless.

Sincerely,
The Stout Family

Please help this adorable little boy…The Stout Family has set up a web page and a link to donate via PayPal. For more information, please visit IHeartNoah.org. You can also join the “I Heart Noah” Facebook fanpage.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, January 19th, little Noah is scheduled for a biopsy at UCSF Childrens Hospital. The family is asking for healing energy and vibe to be sent their way for the procedure.

Family Stout, my thoughts are with you.

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Three Time Grammy Winners, Ozomatli, Working Together to Change Orphan Destinies in Nepal

January 22, 2010

A decade of brutal conflict in Nepal has left, by UN estimates, more than 35,000 school-age children in need of humanitarian support, basic education and other social services. Without it, hope is dim – life will be grim.

Enter Ozomatli (or “Ozo” for short), an eclectic nine-member, Los Angeles, three-time Grammy-award winning Latin, Hip Hop, and Salsa band. The musical brotherhood of Ozomatli was born from the desire to help the younger generation.

Or as bassist Wil-Dog Abers explains, “I don’t know if you know the history of Ozo, but Ozo was playing for kids before it was even Ozo. Before Ozo was Ozo, the drummer and I worked for the (Los Angeles) Conservation Core were we went into schools and we did performances for earthquake preparedness. That is the beginning of Ozo and it is what helps create Ozo today. We aren’t Ozo without working with kids. That is the only way Ozo can go.”

Wil-Dog with our younger generation

But in February 2007, a historical trip to Nepal took their interaction with children to another level all together and saved the lives of 27 children. Ozomatli was invited by the U.S. State Department to Nepal as cultural ambassadors. Though the Nepalese had never heard of Ozomatli, they were eager to see them play. Twelve thousand showed up for the free concert. It became an all-time memorable event. It was the first peaceful non-protest, non-political mass gathering in Kathmandu following the country’s 10-year civil war. Nepal, also for the first time in its history, broadcast the concert live on national television and various radio stations.

The trip grew into a 10-day eye-opener of Nepal’s growing need for assistance in taking care of their homeless children. The multi-cultural band, while visiting various orphanages, played their rainbow of worldly instruments with the orphans, entertained them with free concerts and enjoyed performances of music and dance given by the children. In discussing the trip with Abers, it is obvious that it was soul wrenching, “I can’t even comprehend where life starts and stops for them – the disappointment of not having someone there that really, really cares for you is horrible. We come from such different worlds. But that feeling of human feelings is real; that feeling of sad, happy, love. That is the same but the rest of it…I never worried about where my next meal is coming from. There has always been a choice for me. That is the difference. They never had a choice.”

Ozo vocalist and trumpet player, Asdru Sierra, greeting the musicians of tomorrow

But amidst the sadness, the band found smiles: “There was an orphan that was abused beyond anything that we could understand, yet he could sing in five different languages, dance various dances, and play tons of different instruments. This guy was no more than twelve. He was yearning for anything positive. He started to play with our band. He just became one of us. Even though he could barely speak English, he became a part of us.” Wil-Dog says.

kids pumped up about Ozo music

Not long after the tour ended, Ozomatli contacted The Umbrella Foundation and asked how they could help the children that had left such a lasting impression on them. The Umbrella Foundation is an emergency response organization that rescues children from the streets. “After such an amazing experience with the kids, we wondered what we could do to help. The Umbrella Foundation explained that the building next door to an existing orphanage could be bought and refurbished into a home for 27 kids and asked us if we would be willing to help out. It would be a two year commitment. We said of course. I mean not of course, we had the means to say yes and we decided to be a part of it. It’s a two year commitment but we don’t plan on stopping it.”

Ozo’s sponsored kids thriving today

The commitment has taken these 27 youth and given them the means to thrive. It has given each one the security of a roof over their heads, a place where they know people care about them and consistent warm meals. Abers likes to point out that their journey to Nepal and consequent connection with these children has done nothing but provide an aspect to their lives that should already be established. “I don’t know if these kids have any idea where the financial support is coming from. But they shouldn’t know. It shouldn’t have to matter to them. They shouldn’t care about where the money comes from. It should just be there. The resources should be there for them. They are a part of this world and there are enough resources for them. For all of them. There really is.”

Although Abers feels that this traveling experience to Nepal has helped him and his Grammy-winning band enhance a future generation, he also hopes that it will help to inspire others. “Up to now we came from the place of not wanting to get credit for the stuff we do. But I am beginning to understand the better way to think of it is, is that through us being vocal about our causes we will, hopefully, bring more bands and people into doing more stuff like this.”

The inspiration of Ozomatli obvious in the eyes of the children they help

Abers is on the right track. With the exposure of the plight of the various issues that children are facing around the world and our collective-world action to correct it, our planet will become one. That feeling is already coming to fruition between Ozomatli and the youth that is being positively affected by them. “We (Ozomatli) are kids from the hood too. We were always the kids that were being given to. Sometimes I think we hold on to that in our minds. We were the ones being sponsored so that is why we relate to them so much and why they relate to us. There isn’t the separation between us and them. The attitude and energy between us and the kids we come across is like we are one of them. There is a soul connection there.”

That connection is creating a wonderful destiny for 27 souls.


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