Zap Mama: New 'ReCreations' In The Studio


"Afropean" singer Marie Daulne is Zap Mama. Her parents are from the Congo and Belgium; Daulne was born in the Congo and grew up in Brussels. She formed the group as an a cappella quintet in the late '80s. Influenced by her discovery of the vocals of Central Asian pygmy music, she created the unique vocal sound of Zap Mama, which was introduced to the world on its groundbreaking 1993 debut, Adventures in Afropea 1.

Zap Mama at KEXP. i

Zap Mama at KEXP. Jon Kertzer hide caption

itoggle caption Jon Kertzer
Zap Mama at KEXP.

Zap Mama at KEXP.

Jon Kertzer

Zap Mama has evolved over the years into a pan-global dance group, with Daulne's powerful vocals still in the lead. She moved to the U.S. for a time, and American jazz, soul and hip-hop became part of her musical mix, along with reggae, Latin and other world sounds. She loves to work with other artists, and has recorded with Michael Franti, Common and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, among many others.

The group's latest album, ReCreations, continues this international trajectory, and includes collaborators as varied as French actor Vincent Cassel, neo-soul singer Bilal and rock-blues singer-guitarist G. Love. Zap Mama played in the studios of KEXP near the start of a summer tour in late June, and performed four new songs from the album. The band includes musicians from the U.S., the Netherlands and Germany, as well as talented backing singers and MCs Maimouna Yousef and Tanja Daese.

The new songs performed here demonstrate the latest musical directions of Zap Mama, although "Swinging Sisters," which is a new arrangement of a song from the group's debut, is a tribute to the group's original vocal sound. Her new singers blend admirably well with Daulne's vocals, and the band combines her many musical influences into a undeniably attractive mix.

Originally recorded June 22, 2009. Engineered by Tom Hall.

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