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Zap Mama: a ma zone

Worlds meet, not so much colliding as interlacing, forming a new kind of multi-cultural fiber in a project like Zap Mama. As heard on the fourth and latest album, a ma zone (Luaka Bop 72438; 47:41), West Africa, inner city America and Euro-notions are stirred up into a happy, undulant mix. Techno touches, rap snippets, drum ‘n’ bass tracks and other fashionable surface effects are here, but the focus is on the warm and worldly cosmopolitan sound of leader Marie Daulne’s voice. The melding of African and European sensibilities has been dubbed “Afropea,” and it’s a reasonable hook. With Zap Mama, the sound is exotic, eclectic and accessible all at once. After all the dance-inductive tactics have gone down, the album closes with an atmospheric a cappella coda, with layered vocals singing sweetly and distractedly, as if in a dream scene.

Originally Published