Happy to share with you my latest music discovery! Polyphonic African tunes mixed with French and English. There’s something hypnotic, strong and at the same time vulnerable and tender.
The melodies, I cannot stop listening to!
Meet positive vibration from Zap Mama.
The person behind Zap Mama is Marie Daulne. She was born in Democratic Republic of the Congo. Shortly after she was born her father, a Belgian citizen, was killed by rebels during Congo crisis. Those were against the mixed marriages. To survive, her mother with Maurie’s bothers and sisters had to hide in the forest. Later they flew to Belgium.
Growing up in Belgium wasn’t easy, as they didn’t see many black people around. The mother always emphasised the perfection in French and didn’t teach the kids African songs. However, she sang some songs in the house and the whole family was very musical. She was excited to discover American TV shows about a black family, which felt like their family. Later, when she was 14, she discovered Bob Marley and fell in love with Kaya album which she knows by heart.
In school Marie sang in choir. But she remembered her mother’s singing and though why not to try. So she started singing jazz with those little African tricks. The teacher was impressed. Maurine was even asked to teach the group. That was when she understood the power of her roots. Zap Mama was born.
She started the acapella group with her sister, Anita Daulne, and 3 more women. African polyphonic way of singing was on the first place. They consider voice as a greatest instrument which can make music everywhere and any time, singing – as talking, sharing and living. The inspiration is everywhere. You just need to observe and notice all the slightest noises like sneezing, yawning, crying… It all can make a loop.
Later, she added to the band musicians and even a DJ.
Maurine started travelling the world and mix all the music she heard. Now we can travel with her. Introducing the song, she says ‘..and now I will Zap you to Brazil.’ She switches channels and the listener tunes in.
I met the beautiful music of Zap Mama at Summer Happenings at The Broad museum in L.A. just about a week ago. Like all the love stories… it was weird.
In was in the beautiful gallery by the mind blowing work of Takashi Murakami. There were lights and instruments and speakers, works of art and… the audience. Zap Mama’s performance had to start at 9.30PM. The time was passing by, the next performers were getting ready. Zap Mama was appearing and disappearing… The crowd was getting bigger and she finally started the soundcheck. Cannot event describe how I hate to witness the artists’ sound checks!
Zap Mama was frustrated by the echo in galleries, kept saying ‘Oh, I don’t have my sound…’ and didn’t understand all the controls on the board… ‘I’m not a DJ’, – she said.
But even then, on the moments of frustration, she looked confident! It was something that didn’t make the crowd go away…
However, I got tired and started to get angry but kept waiting for the performance. Then I gave up. As soon as I decided to go down the stairs, I heard the beautiful melody so I rushed back! And I was right. It was the music I will never forget. And damn, that ‘Picks me up’ song for Zap Mama’s upcoming album sounds exactly like my life. Dear Zap Mama, I forgive you everything! Just please, please, sing!
Waiting for the new album. Btw, you can pre-order it on the artist’s website!
And here is the playlist of my personal favourites Zap Mama’s tracks: