10 Things You Didn’t Know About Zap Mama

Once upon a time, a French Belgian man traveled the world and landed in Kisangani (the largest city in Congo-Kinshasa). He found love in a Bantu woman (Bernadette Aningi) and they got married and had children. Their fairytale ended however when he was killed a week after his fourth and last child was born.

He didn’t commit a crime, well, the only crime he did commit was falling in love with a woman who was of a different race. The French Belgian man, named Cyrille Daulne, was attacked and killed by Simba rebels, who were opposed to mixed-race (interracial) relationships.

“He did not have a chance to come with us because he was captured,” Daulne says. “He was a prisoner of the rebels for a while, then they killed him.” Her mother escaped into the jungle with Marie and was arrested by the rebels but was later set free because she spoke their language.

Daulne pays tribute to those pygmies who rescued her family in the song “Gati” from Supermoon. “They saved my family and many others during the Congolese rebellion,” Daulne says, “and they deserve recognition for that.”

Democratic Republic of Congo Reviewed…

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (French: République démocratique du Congo), commonly referred to as DR Congo, Congo-Kinshasa or the DRC, is a country located in Central Africa:

  • It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world.
  • With a population of over 71 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the nineteenth most populous nation in the world, the fourth most populous nation in Africa, as well as the most populous officially Francophone country.
  • It borders the Central African Republic and South Sudan to the north; Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi in the east; Zambia and Angola to the south; the Republic of the Congo, the Angolan exclave of Cabinda, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west; and is separated from Tanzania by Lake Tanganyika in the east.

10 things you didn’t know about Zap Mama:

  1. Her real name is Marie Daulne and she was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  2. She is biracial (of Caucasian and African descent).
  3. Her family survived a terrible ordeal and returned to Belgium to start life afresh. She had to deal with racism on a daily basis in Belgium growing up.
  4. Music was her escape from racial segregation and a form to connect with her roots.
  5. At age 20, she returned to Africa to learn about her heritage and train in pygmy onomatopoeic vocal techniques. She traveled all of Africa to explore and learn.
  6. In 1989, she founded the group Zap Mama to merge the African and European aspects of her identity but now sings as a solo act. She is known as the creator of African European music.
  7. The name Zap Mama means “zapping from one instrument to another, a culture, a style. It means someone who’s a citizen of the world, not an American or Belgian.”
  8. Zap Mama has released seven full-length albums: Adventures in Afropea 1 (1993), Sabsylma (1994), Seven (1997), A Ma Zone (1999), Ancestry in Progress (2004), Supermoon (2007), and ReCreation (2009) that fall into four cycles.
  9. Zap Mama specializes in polyphonic, harmonic music with a mixture of heavily infused African instruments, R&B, and Hip-hop and emphasizes voice in all their music.
  10. She collaborated with Erykah Badu on Ancestry in Progress (an album with a more neo-soul/r&b feel).
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13 thoughts on “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Zap Mama

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  2. Excellent Article, it is a breath of fresh air. I love Zap Mama’s music. It’s so soothing, even though I don’t always understand what she’s saying. She speaks English as if she’s speaking French. But she’s a great artist nonetheless. Bless you.

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