Zap Mama

Ancestry in Progress

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On its first full-length in four years, Marie Daulne's Zap Mama project returns to Luaka Bop from a brief encounter with Narada and resumes its quest to wind African melody and vocal harmony around hip- hop, jazzy breaks, soul and Afro Cuban rhythms first explored on 7 and continued with mixed success on A Ma Zone. Produced by Daulne and Anthony Tidd, the music production was supervised by the Roots' Richard Nichols. As such, this exotic blend is earthy, steamy, full of souled-out slips and shimmers in "Bandy Bandy" with special guest Erykah Baud, and the laid-back funk of "Show Me the Way," with guests Air Thompson Bahamadia and Lady Alma. This is far more an urban recording, where urban pop and nu-soul are informed by worldbeat esthetics rather than the other way around. Take "Miss Q'N" with its late-night groove and stacked harmonies (all performed by Daulne) coming from out of the ether and weaving a tapestry of soft seductive lullaby around the lyric. "Yak," with its male chorus intoning the pronunciation ("Yah Yoa") is an intro against the whispering hi hat loop, before a huge chorus of alto and contralto voices re-frame it and Daulne's solo voice. As the hypnotic effect becomes the M.O., M.C. Intense begins rapping from his urban reality perch and throws the whole thing into overdrive. And so it goes, drifting, cutting, edging, and willowing toward some otherworldly collage that is all held together in the sheer vocal magic of Daulne's vision.

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