Boston, Massachusetts, USA

All female, and Boston-based, Zili plays New World Soul, roots music of the African diaspora.


Zili is all female & performs roots music of the African diaspora, set in motion by Haitian traditional rhythms. Captivating sounds evoke the African continent as Zili often reconnects Haitian mizik rasin with siblings Jamaican roots, Afro-Brazilian samba, Afro-Cuban son, African American blues, jazz, R&B & neo soul. Zili retraces routes of forced exile & cultural resistance through diasporic rhythm & song.  Zili Misik honors its influences, creating a sound that is uniquely its own: New World Soul.

Powerful Haitian, Brazilian & West African rhythms infuse Zili's performances, traditional folksongs & dances. Zili provides high energy performances, classes, clinics, & workshops.The women of this group trace their roots to 5 countries & 3 continents, & have been bridging cultures, generations, & continents for over 15 years!

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

Zili Misik has won a Boston Music Award for Outstanding International Music, & the Boston Phoenix & WFNX's Best World Music Band (twice). Zili is featured on an episode of PBS' nationally syndicated program, "Design Squad" (www.pbskids.org/designsquad)! Zili has been featured by the Boston Globe, the Boston Phoenix, the Boston Banner, the Metro, The Dig, TimeOut, & 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 & http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2011/12/08/zili-misik-boston). Zili Misik performed at the inauguration of Boston's Mayor Menino, & at NYC's Lincoln Center. Zili is featured on the BBC's & NPR's Afro Pop Worldwide, April 2008. Zili is featured in Color Lines Magazine, March/April 2008 issue -- www.colorlines.com! Zili is winner of ROCKRGRL's & 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 for the Gawou Ginou Foundation school in Mirebalais, Haiti (which Zili members 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 (just part of Boston's great wealth of fabulous musicians) bring keyboardists, guitarists, horns (trombone, trumpet, & sax), bassist, drummers, and percussionists to Zili, bringing the wealth of their professional and personal experiences, to activate Zili's rhythm, horn, and vocal sections.

Zili's latest CD, "Cross Roads," released March 2012, is available on Itunes, & Amazon, & at www.zilimisik.com.  Zili Misik's debut CD, "New World Soul," is available through www.zilimisik.com; & Zili Misik's second CD, "Zee'lee Mee'seek" is available on Itunes, www.cdbaby.com, & www.zilimisik.com.


Doug Abrahams
Sunrising Artists

Kera M. Washington


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
conned away
or never knew she had one at all
your Walk tells the tale
The blues
jazzy soul all in one...
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 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
Se danse Ibo
(Like that, like that, dance the Ibo


Written By: KMW

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
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
Before we learned how our laughter could land us a bullet through our hearts
We were at home
At peace

Was it Congo Square?

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

I accept you as you come to me!

(vocal percussion)


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)