Originally an all-female a cappella quintet, Zap Mama seeks to bridge the gap between European and African music, utilizing African instruments, R&B and hip-hop rhythms along with the human voice. The Belgian-based group is led by its founder Marie Daulne. Born in Zaire, she lost her Belgium father when he was killed by Congolese rebels when she was just a week old. Raised in Europe by her mother, she heard reggae, rap and French music while growing up, singing African melodies and writing her first song when she was 15. Daulne visited Africa when she was 20 after hearing a recording of traditional pygmy music, eager to learn about her musical heritage. After receiving extensive training in pygmy vocal techniques, she returned to Belgium in 1989, singing at first in jazz cafes. In 1990 she founded Zap Mama.
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