Slap on your “Hello, My Name Is…” badge and get your passport stamped, cause we’re taking off to explore the origins of Brazil’s Forro In The Dark, Zimbabwe’s Hallelujah Chicken Run Band, and the Belgian/Zairian roots of Zap Mama’s Marie Daulne.
Forro In The Dark
Forro (pronounced Fo-ho) is a type of dance that’s been popular in northeastern Brazil for over a century. The style is traditionally danced to a three-piece band consisting of an accordion, a bass-like drum called a zabumba, and a triangle. New York’s Forro In The Dark conjures up an image of a group of perfectly tan Brazilians swaying and stepping into the starry night. Taken from the group’s web site, the group’s founder and percussionist Mauro Refosco sheds some light on their name:
“On my birthday, I invited an accordion player and some other friends, including Smokey (Hormel, a guitarist who’s played with Beck, Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond) to a party,” Refosco says. “Smokey had been learning forro songs; every time we met, he’d want to play me something new he’d discovered. Nublu (the downtown N.Y. hot spot) had just opened. I thought we could play some forro to celebrate my birthday. The audience went crazy, and the club offered us a weekly gig. We needed a name, and Luis Gonzaga, a forro singer from the ’40s, has a song we love that translates to ‘Forro in the Dark’, so we used that.”
Mar 31at 9:30 Club (with Balkan Beatbox) – Washington D.C.
Apr 2 at Webster Hall (with Balkan Beatbox) – New York, NY
Marie Daulne was born during very difficult and dangerous times in Zaire. Simba rebels sought out to kill interacial couples, and Marie’s parents (her mother was Bantu and her father was Belgian) sought refuge in the jungle. Eventually they fled to Belgium, where Marie sharpened her voice at jazz cafes and bars. Daulne tries to explain how her name bears superhero properties:
“I’m a nomad. I like to discover my sound with different instruments, different genres. For me it’s normal. My name is Zap Mama – it’s easy to understand that it’s easy for me to zap in from one instrument to another, a culture, a style.”
Apr 3 at Cape Town International Jazz Festival – Cape Town, South Africa
Jun 19 at Sierra Nevada World Music Festival – Boonville, CA
Jul 5 ar Essence Music Festival – New Orleans, LA
Hallelujah Chicken Run Band
In the sixties, Zimbabwe was a British colony called Rhodesia. The owners of a copper mine were charitable folk and believed their workers needed some entertainment. They commisioned the son of a security guard, trumpet player Daram Karanga, to put a band together so he hired four friends, which included singer and drummer Thomas Mapfumo. This was how the Hallelujah Chicken Run Band came to be. The name stems from Mapfumo’s day job of tending to the mine’s chicken coop.