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Supermoon

4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

There's an alluring place where the mystique of the African continent meets the complexity of the Western world. It's a place where rhythm and beauty, myth and melody, history and harmony converge. It's a place where anything is possible. For more than 15 years, the musical entity known as Zap Mama has stood at that crossroads. Born in the Congo to an African mother and Belgian father, harbored by pygmies in the forest in the midst of revolution, and raised in the predominantly French culture of Belgium, vocalist and founder Marie Daulne is not only a living map of the world, but a purveyor of its rich stories and an ambassador to all of its diverse cultures. A brilliant songwriter and performer, she distills and reflects creative energy from an infinite array of sources and beams it back to the world with a brilliance that is unsurpassed.

Amazon.com

A sprawling example of "world groove," Zap Mama's sixth album is further proof that in these interconnected times the musical world really is shrinking. Born in the Congo and raised in the French culture of Belgium, Zap Mama founder and driving force Marie Daulne has always ignored the barriers between musical genres like so many outdated speed limits on a dusty highway, but on Supermoon she dips into so many styles--Afropop, R&B, hip-hop, funk--as to reduce those barriers to a delightful irrelevancy. Helped by a smorgasbord of big-name collaborators--Me'shell N'degeocello, Tony Allen, and Spearhead's Michael Franti all guest for one track each--Daulne turns African pygmy music into a rollicking club anthem on "Gati," borrows James Brown's "Payback" guitar riff on "Toma Taboo," uses the intricate polyrhythmic arrangement of "Go Boy" for a touching tale of an African immigrant, and evokes modern soul singers like Macy Gray on the title track. Through it all, the intricate vocal arrangements and production that are Zap Mama's trademark--performed largely by Daulne herself--never fail to astonish. --Ezra Gale
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 7, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Heads Up
  • ASIN: B000S2B298
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #210,142 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Thomas B Goodloe on September 7, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
After reading several negative reviews online of this album, I decided to pick up a copy of "Supermoon" and judge for myself.

"Supermoon" brings Zap Mama closer to the inevitable sound they've been moving towards at least since "A Ma Zone". With more urban, jazz, and hip-hop grooves than ever, this is probably their most accessible album to date. This is a good thing for those who are just discovering Zap Mama, but a hard reality for those of us long-time fans who loved the rich African feel of earlier releases. For "Supermoon", the most "african" thing about it is Marie Daulne's vocal style.

As for personal favorites, I enjoy the rousing opening track "1000 Ways" and the funky groove of "Toma Taboo". The title track "Supermoon", while catchy in an early Wyclef sort of way, strays too far from her style and includes some painfully vapid lyrics.

Overall this is a mediocre release.. perfectly sterilized for the general public, but leaving long-time fans to close their eyes and dream of "Adventures in Afropea."
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Format: Audio CD
Ahhhhh, Zap Mama and the Tour De Force behind it all, Marie Daulne. When I learned of the new release, I immediately rushed out to get it, and had to hit 3 different record stores before I found one that stocked it. I'm pleased to say that I have all of Zap Mama's releases, with the exception of the first two (Adventures in Afropea and Sabsylma), which are so fundamentally different from the later releases, that I almost don't think of it as the same band. In any event, I'm a huge fan, so it is with some level of regret that I have to write that this album fell short for me. I thought that true creative effort was lacking on many of the songs on this album, and it just didn't move me in the way 7 or Amazone or Ancestry in Progress did. The Michael Franti collaboration ("Hey Brotha")is just plain bad, and the title track is completely lackluster. Seems like more time was spent on the photo spread in the album insert than on putting out some really amazing tracks, the way only Zap Mama is capable of. That being said, I was blown away by the chorus on "Go Boy" ("Ohe Ohe Samangwa"--beautiful!!), and "Princess Kesia" is a sweet ode to, I'm assuming, her daughter and is about her child no longer being a baby but a beautiful girl. "Affection" is also a sweetly performed track. Most of the other songs are entirely forgettable. I do hope it grows on me. For now, I'll keep it in my car rotation and hope for the best. All that being said, I'll never pass up an opportunity to see Ms. Daulne perform live. Beautiful to watch and she is just a "presence!" Must catch her if you haven't. Finally, Ms. Daulne's voice in many ways is very reminiscent of Bjork's. I think if those two decided to collaborate on something, it could be history making.
Still a HUGE fan.
"Peace be a SuperMoon."
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm at a point in my life where I'm exploring a bunch of new musical genres that I'm not familiar with. Before this album the only song I had heard from Zap Mama was "Brrlak," and I had to listen to that a few times before it grew on me. I bought this on a whim, not really knowing what to expect, but from the very first track I fell in love with the album. I usually have to listen to a CD 2 or 3 times before I start to really like it, so it's odd for me to find an album I like after only listening to it once. I was feeling down the day I got this and during the preceding weeks, but as soon as I listened to this album I felt really lively and happy. The upbeat rhythms of songs like "1000 Ways" and "Kwenda" always make me want to dance and just put me in a good mood (especially when I hear the "Payback" sample in "Toma Taboo"), while the slower-paced songs are really smooth and relaxing. There's not much there in terms of lyrical content, however I don't know any of the non-English songs so there might be something in those.

Like I said, I'm new to Zap Mama and this whole genre of experimental/fusion music, nor have I heard much of the past efforts of Zap Mama, so maybe my opinion doesn't mean as much as the other reviewers who are long-time fans and know much more about this type of music than I do. However, I think that enables me to judge it as a stand-alone album rather than comparing it to Zap Mama's past efforts. This album is great in terms of musical composition, so it's a nice album to listen to in the car on the way to work, or to have playing in the background while hanging with friends or something like that. The only thing I know of to compare it to would be Erykah Badu's "New Amerykah Pt. 1" album, except with a lot less social commentary. So if you like that album just because of the lyrical content then I wouldn't recommend this, but if you like the afro-funk and blues-ish experimental sounds on that album, then you'll enjoy this as well.
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Format: Audio CD
Zap Mama - Supermoon (2007)

Compared to previous records like SEVEN and A MA ZONE, SUPERMOON is a step towards conventional, mainstream music. It often lacks the thrillingly bizarre and innovative aspects of their earlier albums. Part of this perception stems from the fact that Zap Mama's (who is essentially vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Marie Daulne) musical styles are now quite familiar to longtime listeners and can no longer deliver the "shock of the new." But while Marie Daulne's vocal acrobatics are largely (but not completely) subdued on this recording, in their place are classy songs with tasteful singing. And the album is also full of funky fun, pleasing poly-rhythms and jazzy inflections. SUPERMOON is expertly produced and there's fantastic background singing and interesting sonic touches throughout. While I wouldn't rate it as high as A MA ZONE or 7, this is quality music and there isn't a dud in the bunch, therefore, I rate it 5 stars.

Breakdown:

"1000 Ways" - kicks off the album with a quick-tempoed African beat and melodic bass. Features terrific singing and a super-wiggy keyboard. *****

"Hey Brotha" - an upbeat duet with Michael Franti celebrating a friendship that goes way back. This one showcases some of those crazy "vocal acrobatics" that I love so much, although I'm not super crazy about the "Hey brotha, hey sister" chorus. ****

"Super Moon" - The title track is the most conventional tune on the album, a laid-back track with acoustic guitar. Still, it's a sweet song and no one sings like Marie Daulne. ****

"Go Boy" - a mysterious sounding cut with rhythmic and jazzy piano chords. It opens with some infectious bongos and what sounds like a "woodblock vibraphone.
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