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Ancestry In Progress

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Album Review

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.

Customer Reviews

A Sweet Treat Indeed

This extremely progressive artpiece is not my first aquaintance with World music, it is however my first introduction to the Zap Mama experience and I am very pleased. After listening to this album, I searched the web for more info on this lovely group and was even more pleased. I love the depth and unique sound of Marie's (lead singer of Zap Mama) voice. Through her smoky voice and jazzy, hip-hop grooves, I am drawn into a life drastically different from western culture and I am empowered as an artist, a woman, mother and a human. This album is truly a classic as it has so many textures of sound. A must-have for any music lover!

Flippin' sweet!

Ancestry In Progress is one of the best Zap Mama albums currently out. From the beginning, with the Intro's background of a rocket launch, you know that this is going to be much more different than anything else you've previously heard. From Alright's sweet harmonies to Follow Me's frantic vocals, THIS is the best album this group has produced. Favorite tracks: Bandy Bandy, Miss Q-N, Ca Varie, Cache-Cache, Lesson No. 5, and the Bandy Bandy Carl Craig mix (only on the Bonus CD avaliable if you physically buy the album from a store).

Work of art

Zap MaMa does it again, creating another masterpiece that will be sure to please our senses. This is a great album.


Formed: 1990

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Zap Mama is an all-female a cappella quintet founded by Zaire native Marie Daulne. Daulne's father was killed during the revolution of 1960 while her mother was pregnant with her, so the remainder of the family fled to the forests and found refuge with a tribe of pygmies. Daulne was raised primarily in Europe, but when she heard a recording of traditional pygmy music at age 20, she decided to return to Africa to learn about her heritage. She was trained in pygmy onomatopoeic vocal techniques before...
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