Zap Mama’s Afro-European energy and light shine brighter on her debut on Heads Up International with the worldwide release of Supermoon. An engaging blend of world, soul, pop, jazz and other subtle shades too numerous to mention, the album includes guest musicians from around the globe: drummer Tony Allen; bassists Meshell Ndegeocello and Will Lee; guitarists David Gilmore and Michael Franti; pianists Leon Pendarvis, Daniel Freiberg and Robbie Kondor; percussionist Bashiri Johnson and many more.
Produced by Daulne as well as Christopher McHale, Luc Weytjens, and Anthony Tidd, and mixed by Axel Niehaus and Dave O’Donnell, the album takes its title from a culture obsessed with superstars and idols. “It seems rather foolish for people to look up to figures who are not very good examples of how to live your life,” says Daulne. “They identify themselves through a media image, a certain kind of look, a certain kind of artificial personality. I say let’s be ourselves, and let’s create a word for what it means to be ourselves. A ‘supermoon’ is a unique person. You can be a supermoon if you follow your own desires and pursue the things that you were born to do. To be a supermoon is to be true to yourself and others.”
Indeed, Supermoon is perhaps Zap Mama’s most emotionally honest and intimate recording in a discography that spans fifteen years and six albums. “With Supermoon, I reveal the way I chose to live when I started my career. It’s very intimate, beginning with my choice of the picture on the cover of the album. You’re seeing me very close up. I hope that’s a kind of intimacy that people will understand. I’m opening a door to who I am, and revealing myself for all to see.”
The title track sets the tone for the rest of the record by extolling the virtues of genuineness over artifice. As Daulne explains: “I’m not a superstar and I don’t want to be, because all the superstars look like each other. I prefer to be me. Unique. Like a moon – a ‘Supermoon.’ Friends, lovers people around us – they’re our ‘sun’ and make us shine. And it’s important in life to find a person or people who do just that. If you idolize others too much – whether it be musicians, movie stars or media superstars – you lose sight of yourself. But if you listen to the voice inside yourself, and surround yourself with similarly wonderful people, you’ll keep your center.”
“Affection” is inspired by a close friend of Daulne who recently passed away. “Affection is everywhere,” says Daulne. “It’s in a smile, a hug, a touch, a phone call. We’re all looking for affection. We’re all looking for recognition.” The track was co-produced by Anthony Tidd, who also produced “Bandy Bandy” on the previous Zap Mama outing, Ancestry in Progress.
“Where Are You,” built on the lush counterpoint of pianist Robbie Kondor and bassist Anthony Guarnier, is not so much a song about love, but more about the search for it. Starting softly but evolving into something more bold and impassioned, asking over and over again, “Where are you?” The song is “for the single people who are looking for a partner,” says Daulne. “We’re all looking for a lover, but when we try to be committed to someone, it’s hard.”Whether she’s addressing issues of concern to our culture at large or intimate matters of the heart that affect us on a profoundly personal level, Zap Mama sings with a genuine voice that values sincerity over dazzle. In the end, her music is as illuminating as it is entertaining.
Stand in the light of Supermoon and catch the positive groove.