Zap Mama

Supermoon | Heads up
By JEFF TAMARKIN  |  July 30, 2007
1.5 1.5 Stars
inside_supermoon
Any similarities between Zap Mama 2007 and the group who bore that name in 1990 is purely coincidental. What started as an African-inspired, Belgium-based a cappella quintet is now Marie Daulne and an army of random musicians and guest vocalists. Perhaps that’s where Zap were always headed anyway — Daulne so dominated the group from the start that only the most loyal fan could have named any of the others. But as she’s assimilated into the R&B mainstream and shed nearly all trappings of Africana, she’s sacrificed her brand identity: Supermoon could have been cut by any diva with access to state-of-the-art studio tools and a budget. “Gati,” with its Carnival pulse and multiple rhythmic layers, does get a party started, and “Hey Brotha,” headlined by Michael Franti on vocal and guitar, projects a funky Sly Stone vibe. “Go Boy,” with Leon Pendarvis’s jazzy piano and stacks of vocals, hints at Zap Mama’s abandoned roots. But even ace sessioneers (pianist Robbie Kondor, trumpeter Michael Leonhart, bassist Tony Garnier) can’t inject life into the glossy “Where Are You,” one of the quieter, duller moments, and “Princess Kesia,” the closer, is so bogged down in its multi-tracked choral vocals and superfluous instrumentation, it cries out for a remix that subtracts rather than adds.
  Topics: CD Reviews , Entertainment, Music, Michael Franti,  More more >
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