© 2013 Womad Ltd
Company Reg. No. 2734599
Place of registration : England
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It started off as a Brussels thing. The city is a second home to almost every culture in the world, especially those of central West Africa and the Maghreb, but its also something of a shrine to modernity; modern government, modern office blocks, modern big city vibes. Its hardly surprising that an urban ethnic flower like Zap Mama should grow in this kind of cultural subsoil. Marie Daulne gathered together a posse of marginally-minded friends in 1990 to create a group that would blend soul, gospel, pygmy songs and Afro-Cuban rhythms, with an emphasis on gorgeous harmony vocals, gentle yet stirring rhythms and skilful arrangements of no fixed provenance. The salient effect was female, kaleidoscopic, multi-kulti, like the united voices of Brussels doused in good humour and joie de vivre. This formula, encapsulated on a debut eponymous CD, quickly won fans, not only in Belgium and throughout Europe, but also up in musical Olympus, where the likes of Sting and Peter Gabriel were early adopters. David Byrnes Luaka Bop label distributed the album throughout the world, and turned the name of Zap Mama into a familiar and well loved part of the global cultural landscape. Their follow up, Sabsylma, was nominated for a Grammy. In the meantime Daulne received a heap of invites to guest on other peoples work, including Brazilian diva Maria Bethania and the irrepressible Michael Franti. With a third CD, 7, Zap Mamas line-up expanded to include instrumental backing and not just vocals, which upped the funk quotient considerably. Now a new album, A Ma Zone, featuring Manu Dibango and the Roots amongst others, is in the bag. The title is a French pun which celebrates the spirit of the Amazon woman, the fighter, but also tells the world that Zap Mama are always in my zone, musical nomads who feel at home wherever they go.