I was watching one of my last class videos, when I discovered the root of the name for Ozomatli. It’s one of the Aztec day signs meaning ‘monkey’. Now, some of you may be familiar with the band and wonder what a multi ethnic, activist band that plays music ranging from salsa to funk is doing with a name that means ‘monkey’. Personally, I was wondering myself. Evidently the monkey was also the god of dance, fire, the new harvest, and music, which makes sense for a band name. Especially one that’s so integrally a ‘dance band’ that thrives on getting audience participation and involvement. I’m not sure if one of the group members is a Nahuatl speaker (one of the languages Aztec is ‘written in’), but it may be a bow to someone’s origins as well.
I decided to see if any other day signs had slipped into more mainstream use in America. Here’s my findings:
1 – Coatl (snake) – Also a band name, in this case of the metal/gothic/rock variety
2 – Tochtli (rabbit) – A two-player board game that combines aspects of Connect Four and Chinese Checkers
3 – Ollin (‘movement’, or as is more commonly accepted now, ‘earthquake’) – A digital design studio
4 – Ocelotl – the word ‘ocelot’ comes from this. How much more mainstream can you get?
5 – Xochitl (flower) – A restaurant/lounge in Philadelphia. Also an arts studio