supermoon.jpgTitle: Supermoon
Artist: Zap Mama
Label: Heads Up
Catalog No.: HUCD3132
Date: 2007

What is Zap Mama? The simple answer is that Zap Mama is a world music group created in 1990 by Marie Daulne. The more complete answer is that Marie Daulne was born in the Congo Kinshasa to a Congolese mother and Belgian father and created Zap Mama to fuse together the African and European soundscapes. Fusion has been the recurring theme throughout all of Zap Mama’s albums and reincarnations.

The music of Zap Mama is an audible odyssey into what happens when Morrocan meets jazz meets pygmies meets Australian influences. Yet, in the midst of the eclecticism, Zap Mama’s fun and light-hearted nature keeps the music accessible. Despite the openness of their music, they are able to retain an element of surprise primarily because “Zap Mama” can represent anything from an all-female a capella group, to Daulne’s unaccompanied solo work, to Daulne with her band. No matter which Zap Mama shows up on an album or concert, the listener is guaranteed to experience a mélange of sounds, languages, and subjects. Her latest project, Supermoon, is no exception.

For Supermoon, her sixth album, Daulne is trying to reveal a more intimate side of herself and her intent shines through on songs like “Hey Brotha” and “Princess Kesia.” “Hey Brother” recounts childhood sibling memories, while “Princesss Kesia” deals with the mixed emotions of having a daughter who is no longer a baby but a “beautiful girl.” But lest the album become too sentimental, Zap Mama also includes the up tempo party anthem “Kwenda” which is based on an African children’s game. Musically, Supermoon is as diverse as any previous Zap Mama album. The percussion on “1000 Ways” takes you back to the sounds of a Congolese forest while the modal piano chords on “Where are You?” puts you in a late-night Manhattan jazz club.

Now admittedly, sometimes a Zap Mama album can be a sensory overload because there can be so many things going on. One song she’s singing in French, the next three are in English, and the next one may be in an African indigenous language. That’s the beauty of the Zap Mama experience, but it can also wear on your ear if it is your first listening encounter. However, if you’re interested in expanding your musical palette by hearing what a mash-up of jazz, Africa, reggae, children’s games, and folk music sounds like, Supermoon is a great place to start your exploration!

Posted by fredara mareva