Zuba | Allez!

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World: Afro-Pop World: African- West Moods: Mood: Upbeat
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Allez!

by Zuba

BEST AFRICAN ALBUM 2006 JPF AWARDS Zuba is an international collective producing a heady upbeat crossover mix of West African folk, Latin rhythms, contrapuntal guitars and melodic vocals.
Genre: World: Afro-Pop
Release Date: 

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1. Allez! Allez!
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5:38 $0.60
2. Mes Fantômes
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5:08 $0.60
3. Kuleh
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5:27 $0.60
4. Gigadeh
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6:30 $0.60
5. Moonlight
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4:31 $0.60
6. Tomayziyi
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6:07 $0.60
7. Bomosagee
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4:49 $0.60
8. Ormoado
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3:54 $0.60
9. Zuba
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10. Kuwa
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
ALLEZ! has been awarded BEST AFRICAN ALBUM in the 2006 JUST PLAIN FOLKS Music Awards, and the song 'TOMAYZIYI' got ZUBA in the top20 finalists of the UNISONG contest (World/Reggae category) and an HONORABLE MENTION in the final of the International Songwriting Competition 2005 (World Music category).

"Featuring mesmerising guitars, hypnotic rhythms and hook-laden melodies, Allez! is the most stunning mix of western and African music since Paul Simon's Graceland.****" John Dingwall, Daily Record

Zuba are a multi-cultural, multi-lingual testament to hope, humanity and the sheer joy of a good melody.
The Scottish based 7-piece band present their new album "Allez!".

"Absolutely superb!" Bob Harris, BBC Radio2

Zuba wrote and rehearsed Allez! in the basement of a disused sandwich factory in the centre of Glasgow in the long, wet summer of 2004. The main idea of recording these songs was to define, refine and capture Zuba's existing live sound - a sound borne of a fusion of different cultures but not defined by them.

"This album from Glasgow's multi-cultural maestros, Zuba, is the world-rock hybrid Led Zeppelin never made."
John Dingwall, Daily Record

Take a lead singer of Liberian griot lineage with a throat full of reggae and gospel, a Hebridean guitarist with a background in folk fingerpicking and 60s psychedelia, a Parisian percussionist who had travelled and drummed extensively in the world's Latin quarters, an Aberdonian bassist with a fixation on finding the groove that would link Peter Gabriel's world fusion and The Who, a Paisley-born jazz-inflected drummer who studied in Berklee, Boston, a Ugandan singer with a soul voice and an obsession with melancholic 70s singer-songwriters, and a Ghanaian dancer with one foot in the R&B bag and the other dragging it away to African Gospel harmony choir recitals... stick them together in the back of a transit van for six years or so, lock them in a sandwich factory for a while and then entomb them in a smoke-filled recording studio and you have this album.

Zuba asked their friends to play on their record - choir members, organists, trumpeters, percussionists and fiddle players. They all added their own little something to help make this album what it is.
It is Zuba's Bassa Beat and it is the sound of a real band.
It is Allez! and it is the sound of the world.

Zuba's Bassa Beat is grounded on a melody and percussion driven sound - interwoven vocal harmonies vie with contrapuntal guitar lines over a backdrop of simmering rhythmic tension. Worldbeat flavours, afrobeat influences and traditional folk-based lyrical tales are basic ingredients in Zuba's global melting pot. Gritty vocals, overheating valve amps and congas struggling to maintain tension against a constant onslaught inform the sound, while the basic live essence of seven people playing and singing together creates the atmosphere. This atmosphere is a humid blend of sunshine and shadows - the weather systems of Africa and Northern Europe. Liberia, France, Uganda, Scotland, Ghana - a new alliance.



"...an infectious hybrid of influences which has earned Zuba critical acclaim and full dancefloors wherever they play"
John Dingwall, The Daily Record

Zuba have a reputation as a phenomenally exciting live band, shimmering with energy, bringing people to the dance no matter what.
On their travels they have supported Manu Chao, Femi Kuti, Papa Wemba, Salsa Celtica, Martyn Bennett, Ifang Bondi, Abdul T-Jay and many others.
Zuba have performed at major festivals such as:
Brampton, Larmer Tree, Towersey, Edinburgh Festival and
Hogmanay, Celtic Connections, Gig On The Green and
West End (Glasgow), Off The Tracks, Malborough, St Magnus (Orkney),
T in the Park, Highland (Inverness), Bradford Mela, and at
prestigious venues such as Glasgow Barrowlands, King Tut's
and Edinburgh Corn Exchange.


"Zuba occasionally call to mind Peter Gabriel or the Afro-Celts but with a sound that is so confidently their own.****"
Sunday Herald, Mangowanda's review

Their tracks have been in the air from Berlin to New Mexico, through Brazil and Norway, often played on Spin the Globe (K.A.O.S. 89.3FM, Olympia, check their review http://www.earball.net/spintheglobe/reviews_data_2005/06_05.htm) and are one of Mary Ann Kennedy's favourites on her Celtic Connections program on BBC Radio Scotland.
Jerry lately visited his homeland Liberia and was interviewed on national radio and TV... Zuba's exiled grooves where really well received back home!

"Stand-out track Tomayziyi is Liberian singer Boweh's blistering attack on the civil war in his homeland." Daily Record

"Tomayziyi" (Let there be no more wars) is a cry out for peace in the world based on Jerry's experience in his war-torn country Liberia. It has been part of 2 compilations: "Glastonbury unsigned bands 2004" and MOJO's "Songs of Freedom".
"Moonlight" is part of "Welcome", a Glasgow world music compilation (ROOT8 recordings).
"Allez! Allez!" the album opening track, will be part of the Freeness compilation and be downloadable for free, www.freeness.co.uk


"Expertise that spans continents" The List

Formed originally for a one-off concert in aid of Scottish International Relief, since day one, Zuba have strongly believed in music as a way of fighting for a better world and they have current connections with charities such as Amnesty International, Fairtrade, the Big Issue...

"A highly danceable message of tolerance, hope and happiness"
Sue Wilson, Sunday Herald

Jerry Boweh has just launched his own charity AYDAP (African Youth Development Action Project), to open an exchange between youngsters from deprived areas in Scotland and Liberia through music, culture and sport.

"Zuba-one of Britain's best world music acts" The Daily Record

Zuba's current line-up is the strongest and most varied they had so far:

Jerry Boweh (Liberia): vocals, guitar, percussion
Jerry Boweh, the lead singer, is from a lineage of griots from the Bassa tribe (Liberia), his melodies are mostly West African but strongly influenced by reggae and Southern-African grooves. Jerry also conducts the "Glasgow Gospel Choir".

Robin Miller (Scotland): guitars
Robin, native of the Scottish island Islay, brings some celtic sparkle with his magic fingerpicking. Playing guitar professionally for ten years, he has been touring all over Europe with the folk bands "Tannas" and "Runt O' The Litter".

Jacob Chaudeurge (France): congas, djembe, percussion
Jacob Chaudeurge, started by African drumming in Paris, and then studied his Latin skills in Bogotá and Santiago de Cuba. Active on Glasgow scene, he plays also in "SambaYaBamba" (carnival drumming), "Ayawara" (traditional African drumming) and "Sweet-T and the Section" (dub).

Andy Wood (Scotland): bass
Bass player Andy Wood has been in Zuba from the start and developed his highly melodic and energetic playing, influenced by Zimbabwean style and... John Entwistle (The Who). Prior to Zuba, Woody played with "Aunty Rose" (funk/rock) where he contracted the "jump on stage" syndrome!

Alasdair MacDonald (Scotland): drums, tablas, percussion;
After studying jazz in the famous Berklee College of Music, Alasdair MacDonald was a session player with a number of bands before becoming the rhythmical engine of Zuba.

Anna MacDonald (Uganda) & Rosemary Amoani (Ghana): vocals
Anna MacDonald, who leads the song "Mes Fantômes", used to sing in the funk band "Engine".
Rosemary Amoani toured around Europe as a professional dancer before moving in Glasgow.

Don't forget to check www.zuba.co.uk


Reviews


to write a review

Scott Allan Stevens, Spin the Globe

The latest take on Afro-Celtic music comes from straight outta Glasgow.
Afropop from Scotland? The latest take on Afro-Celtic music comes from straight outta Glasgow. Really more Afro than Celtic, the band includes members from France, Scotland, Ghana, and Uganda, led by Liberian singer Jerry Boweh. Shimmering guitars, soaring vocals, and positive messages combine a toe-tapping danceable multicultural masala with elements of Afropop (ala Youssou N'Dour, Angelique Kidjo, Salif Keita), jazz, jam band, and rock. Their lyrical messages echo the upbeat music, from the title track's exhortation to be careful and unified in a time of chaos to the celebration of each person's special gifts in "Gigadeh." But Zuba doesn't turn a blind eye to trouble: "Tomayziyi" is a plea against war in Liberia and across the globe, and also contains an amazingly infectious guitar riff. "Zuba (Cheer Up)" is an appropriate theme song for the group, a great beat wedded to the message "Come and join the celebration; Worry is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but it doesn't get you anywhere." As good as this album is, one gets the impression that the full Zuba experience is available only at live concerts. So see Zuba if you can, or buy their CD for a taste of their feel-good Bassa Beat sound.

©2005 Scott Allan Stevens, Earball Media

Doug Johnstone, The List, 21/07/05

unique hybrid of traditional music from around the globe
What do you get if you cross Africans singers and dancers with Scottish musicians and a French percussionist? Why Zuba, of course, a Glasgow-based seven-piece world music collective who produce a unique hybrid of traditional music from around the globe with no small amount of panache and passion. Songs like 'Tomayziyi' and 'Zuba' are typical, blending upbeat African rhythms with gospel harmonies, a very definite Celtic ceilidh sensibility, an R&B twist and even a distinct English folk vibe to make something which manages, mainly through the band's unabashed exuberance, to not be a dog's dinner of a sound. Unusual, engaging stuff.

Daily Record

The most stunning mix of western and African music since Paul Simon's Graceland
THIS album from Glasgow's multi-cultural maestros, Zuba, is the world-rock hybrid Led Zeppelin never made.

Stand-out track Tomayziyi is Liberian singer Boweh's blistering attack on the civil war in his homeland. Featuring mesmerising guitars, hypnotic rhythms and hook-laden melodies, Allez! is the most stunning mix of western and African music since Paul Simon's Graceland

Peter J Brown aka toxic pete

superbly written, arranged and performed
Zuba - Single - Allez Allez! / Kuwa

'Allez Allez!' and 'Kuwa' from seven piece Scottish band, Zuba, are beautifully handled pieces of contemporary world music. Gentle African rhythms and vocals weave in and out of the incessant vibes laid down by musicians from just about every musical walk-of-life.

The beauty of this genre of music is that it doesn't matter that the lyrics are sung in languages most of us will never understand or master. The crux of Zuba's wonderfully lilting wares is that the overriding rhythms carry the listener along and the vocals become almost secondary even though they're equally as important. Both tracks of this 'double A side' single are superbly written, arranged and performed; the multiple voices and harmonies are carried along on a wave of intricately picked guitars and superbly pointed percussion work.

The combined skills and tracks on offer here remind me of the excellent e2K; superb musicianship that never sounds self-indulgent - Zuba just want to share their skills and influences with anyone prepared to listen. I can well imagine Zuba playing the Festivals circuit and causing absolute havoc with their works.

As a music loving traveller I can readily turn my attention to the music of most Nations - and regularly do!. Here, Zuba have given me just a short peek look into their rhythmic world. I'm sure their latest album, 'Allez!' will be crammed full of similar beauties. So, look out for this single release - seek out the album - go see Zuba!!

Peter J Brown aka toxic pete (www.toxicpete.co.uk)

(Rhythm & Booze rating 9)