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Ozomatli and Marinelli, Out of this World at NASA Ames

The Grammy-award winners rocked the stage at a private event for the Conrad Foundation Spirit of Innovation Summit.

Sound is everywhere—even when its quiet.

That's what Los Angeles rock-band Ozomatli and special guest Anthony Marinelli taught a roomful of really bright kids at NASA Ames yesterday, who arrived to compete in technology and business at the Conrad Foundation Spirit of Innovation Summit.

"A lot of this technology was innovated with the same spirit as the space program," Marinelli said. "People in music had that same quest."

An accomplished composer, conductor and performer, who's scored more than 60 films and played keyboard on Michael Jackson's "Thriller" album, Marinelli also likes to remix sounds. For the Conrad Awards opening night he brought his soundboard, keyboards and synthesizers to demonstrate the science of sound using pitch, timbre, duration and volume.

Then Ozomatli and Marinello invited students from the program to make music with them, and jam they did! Nearly 11 students took on the challenge and a few even hit the dance floor.

However after the performance, it was hard to tell who was more star struck. The students from the Infinity team—Meera Petroff, Grace Hannon, Madison Jones and Elliott Lonwsberry—hung around to meet the band and Marinelli. The kids from Oregon are developing a new fabric to regulate the body temperature of astronauts

But just as intently, Sierra and Marinelli listened to the students' project and were impressed with Hannon's impromptu drawing inspired by the music and sounds of the evening.

Asdru Sierra—the band's lead vocalist, brass and keyboard player—told Mountain View Patch that this is Ozomatli's second year at the Conrad Awards and the kids influenced the band's decision to return.

"I took an interest in a few kids who had found a way to process human feces into food," Sierra said about a team last year. He justified the importance of the project if, for examples astronauts ran out of food. After the feces was processes and tested, the kids even sampled their and each others "poop" he shared.

"They found that the girl in the group, who was vegan, had the best one," he said, qualifying it by adding that it was the most nutritious. "They didn't bring in any samples."

An annual, international competition, the Conrad Awards challenges students to create innovative products using science, technology and entrepreneurship to solve real-world, 21st century problems. Fifteen teams compete in three categories and the winner receives seed money to start their project.


Carolyn Hopkins-Vasquez March 30, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Aww man! Love Ozomatli. How cool!
randy albin March 31, 2012 at 05:40 PM
let's all hold private events at this place. how about being launched into outer space. maybe these musicians and performers will become commonplace here. how about it?
Alicia C. March 31, 2012 at 10:45 PM
are you upset about this?
Jeff M April 02, 2012 at 06:46 PM
BTW, "tambour" is a feature of furniture. You meant "timbre".
Claudia Cruz (Editor) April 02, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Hi Jeff, I found so many different versions of the spelling (tambor was another), all referring to that element of sounds creation. I was trying to stick closes to the term that Anthony Marinelli used, which was in fact tambour (or tambor). However, timbre (funny, because that's what we call a bell in Spanish!) sounds just as appropriate. I think it might depend on which music teacher one had!
Claudia Cruz (Editor) April 02, 2012 at 07:31 PM
I think Randy, that since NASA Ames (and all NASA centers) need to find ways to generate revenue, if private institutions decide to rent space at NASA perhaps they'll be able to keep programming that would otherwise be on the chopping block. Besides, the concert was as much instructional as it was fun, since they actually used it to demonstrate how musicians manipulate sound to make music.
Jeff M April 03, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Hi Claudia, I have to respectfully disagree. Where did you find "tambor"? I don't see it in any of several English dictionaries. I am familiar with the Spanish meanings of a drum or small bell. In English timbre is unambiguous, while the other terms you note are not. E.g: Wikipedia English - The Free Encyclopedia Tambour (French language: drum, from Arabic tunbur "lute, drum", Persian tabir "drum") can refer to: A classical architecture term, see tambour A sewing technique, see tambour lace An American Tambor Class Submarine, see Tambor class submarine In Furniture: A tambour desk or a rolltop desk In Music A musical instrument: tambour is a synonym for "pandura" A guitar playing style: tambour (guitar technique) (sometimes also written tambora) A drum: tambour, a long drum used in the music of Puerto Rico The buttress-like feature on the hazard side of a real tennis court.
Carolyn Hopkins-Vasquez April 03, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Oh my, I do love a good lesson in proper word usage and etymology, but I think we have to look at one point Claudia made, which is: "I was trying to stick closes to the term that Anthony Marinelli used, which was in fact tambour (or tambor)." Semantics, it seems, is the case here.
Claudia Cruz (Editor) April 03, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Jeff, I see what you are saying. I have found a slide presentation online that explains that while it's pronounced TAMBER (not tambor), it is spelled timbre. Thanks. I will make the edit. Anthony must have meant timbre but pronounced it tamber. Carolyn, thank you too.

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