The Byham Theater
Two world music powerhouses, NYC’s Afrobeat maestros Antibalas and gifted vocalists Zap Mama, have joined forces for their first collaboration and Pittsburgh is lucky to be a stop on the national tour.
Led by Belgian/Congolese singer Marie Daulne, renowned group Zap Mama sings polyphonic vocal music that blends African techniques, European polyphony, hip-hop, jazz and nu-soul, while Antibalas incorporates elements of jazz, funk, dub, improv and traditional Cuban and West Africa drumming.
A brand new production that combines each group’s unique strengths, the two-hour concert will feature songs composed by both Zap Mama and Antibalas that showcase creative vocal expression, diverse percussion, storytelling and full band arrangements. Exploring the intersection of Zap Mama’s globally influenced vocal harmonies and Antibalas’ polyrhythmic beats, the collaboration also celebrates the evolution of contemporary Afro music.
The event marks Zap Mama’s first US tour since 2009. An all-female troupe of Afro-pop vocalists based in Europe, Zap Mama first generated a buzz in 1991 after releasing their critically-acclaimed self-titled album on David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label. Their 2009 release, ReCreation, was nominated by the NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding World Music Album.
Founded in 1998 by Martín Perna, Antibalas (Spanish for “bulletproof”) evolved out of a vibrant Brooklyn-based musical community shared with figures such as Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and Daptone Records. The talented ensemble tours extensively around the globe, and gained further prominence in 2009 for its role in the Broadway musical FELA!, about the groundbreaking and highly influential Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, composer, human rights activist and political figure Fela Kuti. Sought-after session and touring musicians, Antibalas members have worked with the Roots, Arcade Fire, Allen Tousaint, David Byrne and St. Vincent and Betty Lavette.