Zili Misik

Zili Misik

Boston, Massachusetts, USA
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Biography

Zili Misik honors its influences while creating a sound that is uniquely its own: New World Soul. Zili retraces routes of forced exile and cultural resistance through diasporic rhythm and song. Captivating sounds evoke the African continent as Zili reconnects Haitian mizik, Jamaican roots, Afro-Brazilian samba, Afro-Cuban son, and African American blues, jazz, R&B and neo soul.

Powerful Haitian, Brazilian and West African rhythms infuse Zili's performances, traditional folksongs and dances, and original creations. Zili provides high energy performances, classes, clinics, and workshops.The women of this group trace their roots to 5 countries and 3 continents, and have been bridging cultures, generations, and continents for over a decade!

All female, "Zili Misik" is named for Haitian spiritual entity, "Ezili" who is envisaged as mother, lover, and warrior. Zili Misik's songs are sensual, political, self-reflective, positive, and invoke love. Zili's lyrics glide seamlessly from English to Kreyol to Portuguese to Spanish, spinning tales and visions of lives lived and yet to be.

Zili Misik has won a Boston Music Award for Outstanding International Music and won the Boston Phoenix and WFNX's Best World Music Band two years in a row. Zili is featured on an episode of PBS' nationally syndicated program, "Design Squad" (Check it out at www.pbskids.org/designsquad)! Zili has been featured by the Boston Globe, the Boston Phoenix, the Boston Banner, the Metro, The Dig, TimeOut, and was chosen as one of the Boston Globe's 25 Most Stylish People of 2009. In January 2011, Zili was featured on NPR's "Here & Now" (http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2011/01/20/haiti-zili-misik), which aired again in December 2011 (http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2011/12/08/zili-misik-boston). Zili Misik has performed at the inauguration of Boston's Mayor Menino, and at NYC's Lincoln Center. Zili is featured on the BBC's and NPR's Afro Pop Worldwide, April 2008. Zili is featured in the March/April 2008 issue of Color Lines Magazine -- www.colorlines.com! Zili is 2007 winner of ROCKRGRL's and Berklee College of Music's BATTLE of the All-FEMALE BANDS.

Zili has toured with Queen Omega (T&T), State Radio and Tony Brown (US), performed with Queen Ifrica (Jamaica) and Emeline Michel (Haiti), opened for Ms. Lauryn Hill, India.Arie, Shaggy, Boukman Eksperyans, Les Nubians, and Zap Mama; and performs regularly at colleges, schools, festivals, and performing arts venues throughout the country.

Zili has an ongoing "Project Misik," which collects donated musical instruments and funds on behalf of the Gawou Ginou Foundation school in Mirebalais, Haiti (to which members of Zili first visited in August 2010, after the earthquake in January). 

Founder and multi-instrumentalist Kera M. Washington composes and arranges most of the songs for Zili. A semi-finalist in the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Hand Drumming Competition, and an ethnomusicologist, Kera incorporates an array of percussion, including Caribbean and West African instruments, flutes and African harps. Kera also possesses an unusually moving and powerful voice, allowing her to move easily from melodic singing to vocal percussion to chants and spoken word.

"Craigslist" and Berklee College of Music brought keyboardist Kana Dehara, guitarist Lexi Havlin, trombonist Stephanie Baird, flutist Tina Jacas, sax player Alexandria Pierre-Etienne, and bassist Joanna Maria, and drummer Jobeth Umali, to Zili. Graduates of Berklee College of Music and Northeastern University, they bring the wealth of their professional and personal experiences, activating Zili's rhythm, horn, and vocal sections.

Zili's third CD, "Cross Roads," is now available, released March 2012! Zili Misik's debut CD, "New World Soul," is available through www.zilimisik.com; and our second CD, "Zee'lee Mee'seek" is available on Itunes, www.cdbaby.com, and www.zilimisik.com.

COLLEGE BOOKINGS:
Exclusively represented for Colleges/Universities, Performing Arts Centers, & Arts Presenting Organizations by:
Auburn Moon Agency
www.auburnmoonagency.com
800.566.6653

WEST COAST BOOKINGS:
Doug Abrahams
Sunrising Artists
www.sunrisingartists.com
480/839-5095

ALL OTHER BOOKINGS:
Nikki D. Sanders, Manager
Ewuniki@gmail.com
617.504.7381

and

Kera M. Washington, Zili
Kera.Washington@gmail.com
617.821.6577

Lyrics

Neges Ibo

Written By: KMW/GJ/Traditional Haitian

Your African walk
speaks of the sistahs who no longer have a voice
the ones who've had it torn
snatched
conned away
or never knew she had one at all
your Walk tells the tale
The blues
funk
roots
jazzy soul all in one...
African.
Whether in your tight jean high heel booted strut
Or your Sunday white suit
You walk out your survival
You Walk out your Survival.
Go 'head African
Walk.

Walk on
Walk on
Keep on moving Groovin
Your head
Lift high
Tell the story you've survived
Walk on
Walk on
Your African walk
speaks that talk
Walk on Walk on
Talk that talk

Neges Ibo (black Ibo woman)
Neges Ibo
Neges Ibo

Dessalines soti nan No
(Dessalines left the North)
Li pote wanga N'Ibo
(He carried a wanga of the Ibo)
Se pou'l touye Jan Piye Rigo
(To do away with Jean Pierre Rigaud)

Ayaman sa konsa
Ayaman
Se danse Ibo
(Like that, like that, dance the Ibo
dance)

Faareyah...groove

Written By: KMW

Faareyah...
I would speak to you in our language but I can't remember how to shape my tongue
The words are painted in my mind's eye
fffff..rrrr...wwahhh
I know the tones
I even know the colors
But it will take years to remember meanings

How long have we known each other?
Were there days before we tucked and str8tened and arched?
Dancing to the language of the drum?
Bodies free...Uhuru...freedom
Before we learned that nakedness is obscene
Feet should be curved
Behinds not too wide
Before we were "balleted" into line
Mwili Yangu Hapendi Musiki Yako..
A hundred lifetimes...

But how long Have we known each other?
Was it us there in the rainforest's arms
Calling to each other in the language of home
Or was it me chasing you
Or was it you right behind
as we children
ran to the river to make music with LaSiren herself...
our fingers full of the water's sounds
at the water's edge
bathing in the warmth
drinking in our prayers to Erzulie
Erzulie-o
Before we learned how our laughter could land us a bullet through our hearts
We were at home
Salaama
At peace

Was it Congo Square?
Bahia?
Port-au-Prince?
Marrakesh?
Bethlehem?

Lifetimes of separation
Reunited in this world of familiar strangers
How many lifetimes has it taken for me to remember your name?
How many for you to recognize my spirit
Music Dance without speaking a word
Faareyah
Waato

Waato
I accept you as you come to me!

(vocal percussion)

Discography

CD, Cross Roads, March 2012
CD, Zee'lee Mee'seek April 2009;
CD, New World Soul August 2007;
CD "Zili Roots" 2003;
featured on Afropop Worldwide (www.afropop.org),
"Africa In America 2008,"March-April 2008;
Featured in 1hour long show, WMJX-FM 100.5 (www.wmjx.com), January 2009;
Airplay on WERS, 88.9FM, WMBR, 88.1FM, and 106FM;
internet streaming radioplay on Berklee's BIRN;
perform regularly on Boston's BNNTV and Cambridge CCTV.

EP "zili misik" April 2006; EP "Zili Misik" March 2008

Set List

Typically our sets are between 45min - 2hrs long, and are a mixture of original songs and covers. Here is a typical set (which includes songs uploaded here).

Lorgina (percussion/Jam band/Haitian roots)
Praise Song (jazz- 12/8)
Faareyah (spoken word/R&B/highlife)
Safe (neo-soul)
Heard It Through the Grapevine/Masters (reggae)
Higher Ground (swing/jazz/high energy 12/8)
Neges Ibo (Haitian roots -- high energy percussion!)
Brasil (samba reggae)
Forward Home (soca)
Umi (Jazz/World)
La Siren (Jazz/12/8)
Guadeloupe (son)
Camille's Song (reggae/Haitian roots)
Banded (pop/dance/world)