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Zap Mama And Antibalas Come Together In Celebration Of Afrobeat

Photo Courtesy of Zap Mama Press

Saturday, Jan. 24 will see the union of two musical acts in celebration of Afrobeat music at the main stage of the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center. 

Zap Mama and Antibalas will come together as one band. 

“We are merging the two bands, not [performing] one after another,” says Marie Daulne, the voice behind the female vocal ensemble Zap Mama.  

Daulne’s voice is her instrument as Zap Mama, and she uses it to incorporate polyphonic and African vocals into contemporary music. Antibalas, founded by Martín Perna in 1998, is a band comprised of multi-instrumentalists that fuse Afrobeat with funk and jazz.

Collaborating with Antibalas on this tour made sense to Daulne. She considers it easy to complement one another by blending the female vocals of Zap Mama with Antibalas' instrumental work. She says their presence and power on stage are similar. 

“The music director and I went through all the set pieces and music repertoire to find what would be the best way to complement one another. Then we did arrangements on my voice,” says Daulne. 

Daulne saw Antibalas several times in the Broadway hit “FELA!,” a musical based on the music and lyrics of Nigerian artist FelaKuti. With its presence in Broadway, she felt that African culture had finally made its way into that medium.

“In the entertainment world, we talk about a lot of things but not a lot of Africa. The only thing the people know in the entertainment world is ‘The Lion King,’” says Daulne. 

She feels that she has to continue spreading the evolution of the African culture and believes she is doing so on this particular tour with Antibalas.  

“It made sense that I had to do something to continue,” says Daulne. 

For Daulne, the purpose of this collaboration with Antibalas is to be the vision of African culture in the world. 

“There is something happening in Africa. The evolution is not only Ebola or the vision people have of Africa. This is what I have to do, especially my fashion and my way of presenting myself,” says Daulne. 

Zap Mama and Antibalas as one band are slated to start at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $25 to $45.