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"Blistering: Zuba****"

ZUBA - ALLEZ! ****

This album from Glasgow's multi-cultural maestros, Zuba, is the world-rock hybrid Led Zeppelin never made.
Stand-out track Tomayziyi is Liberian singer Boweh's blistering attack on the civil war in his homeland. Featuring mesmerising guitars, hypnotic rhythms and hook-laden melodies, Allez! is the most stunning mix of western and African music since Paul Simon's Graceland.
John Dingwall, Daily Record
- Daily Record, 10th June 2005

"Simply mind-blowing!"


Having just recently reviewed Zuba's single taken from this ten track work I am pleased and heartened to now be in possession of 'Allez!', the album.
Zuba describe their beautiful genre as 'Bassa Beat'. Zuba's aim, so it appears, is to bring musical enlightenment into our lives. To that end, they've essentially taken African rhythms, World-folk-lore tales and European musical influences and thrown in, no not thrown, but carefully interlaced, many other World inspired sounds and feels. The result is an intriguing, genre-bending, eclectic set of incredibly tangible and uplifting 'songs' to gently, almost magically, screw their way into the listeners’ soul.
Wow this is a great piece of work! Intelligent vibes and grooves that can be as relaxingly hypnotic as they can be frantically dancey or alarmingly poignant. Each and every track has something new to offer as the World influences gently unfold from within the mix. If I have to give just one prime example of the brilliantly melded influences I would have to choose track six, 'Tomayziyi (No War)' which is an absolute gem. At just over six minutes in length it's packed with pulsating traditional rhythms and contemporary vibes. Its clever arrangement carries the imagination from Africa to Scotland, making other surprising stops along the way. It manages to combine bright danceable Afro themes with dark, Celtic refrains whilst the main drum work somehow manages to retain a totally contemporary, light rock feel. It really is an absolutely stunning and remarkable work. But, it's not on its own; the whole album is similarly constructed. Packed full of originality and interest.
I just wish I'd found Zuba and their music a long time ago. I now feel fulfilled through the remarkable 'Allez!' but somehow empty, almost angry, at having missed their previous works. 'Allez!' is, without question, a stunning piece or work! 'Allez!' is a clear demonstration of originality through tradition. 'Allez!' is red-hot, vibrant and inspirational. 'Allez!' is simply mind-blowing!
(Rhythm & Booze Rating 10)
Peter J Brown aka toxic pete (www.toxicpete.co.uk)
- ToxicPete.co.uk 09/05

"Bhundu Boys legacy in Scotland"


When the Bhundu Boys brought jit jive to Scotland they brought the sun with them, whether livening up a dark Edinburgh club or a sparsely-populated Meadowbank stadium. And they have left a legacy – Zuba are a Scots-African collective with no Zimbabweans in their ranks but the feel is the same – impossibly complicated guitars, and beautifully orchestrated vocals chorusing together. Whether it’s on ‘Kuwa’, which beckons the listeners to sing along despite the language barrier, or ‘Allez! Allez!’ which could have them up forming a conga around their living room, Zuba have taken the best bits of African music and somehow added a Western slant/Scottishness to it –the essential 3-minute format and the dance beats. All they need now is to get it out there to a public that don’t realise this kind of music exists.
Where’s Andy Kershaw when you need him?
Stuart McHugh, Is This Music,
- Is this music? Oct 2005

"Global music culture’s answer to Franz Ferdinand"

Zuba single: Allez! Allez! / Kuwa

Global music culture’s answer to Franz Ferdinand, Zuba deliver a warm and compelling sound forged in the crucible of Glasgow but composed of elements from around the world on this double A-side single taken from their debut album Zuba
Both these tunes are dominated by the vocals of Jerry Boweh. The West African feel is no accident as he is of Liberian griot descent himself. The other key element is the rather beautiful acoustic guitar that forms the heart of these two songs. Guitarist Robin Miller, looks to his Hebridean heritage and the music of West Africa to great effect.
‘Allez Allez!’ is the more gentle of the two songs and wins you over with its simple chorus and intricate guitar. A quite beautiful song and one that is sure to turn up on endless compilations. ‘Kuwa’ is a pacier affair with a hypnotically repeated guitar lick and plenty of hooks.
Damian Rafferty
- FLY Global music culture 15/10/05

"Superb musicianship"

Zuba - Single - Allez Allez! / Kuwa

'Allez Allez!' and 'Kuwa' from seven piece Scottish band, Zuba, are beautifully handled pieces of contemporary world music. Gentle African rhythms and vocals weave in and out of the incessant vibes laid down by musicians from just about every musical walk-of-life.
The beauty of this genre of music is that it doesn't matter that the lyrics are sung in languages most of us will never understand or master. The crux of Zuba's wonderfully lilting wares is that the overriding rhythms carry the listener along and the vocals become almost secondary even though they're equally as important. Both tracks of this 'double A side' single are superbly written, arranged and performed; the multiple voices and harmonies are carried along on a wave of intricately picked guitars and superbly pointed percussion work.
The combined skills and tracks on offer here remind me of the excellent e2K; superb musicianship that never sounds self-indulgent - Zuba just want to share their skills and influences with anyone prepared to listen. I can well imagine Zuba playing the Festivals circuit and causing absolute havoc with their works.
As a music loving traveller I can readily turn my attention to the music of most Nations - and regularly do!. Here, Zuba have given me just a short peek look into their rhythmic world. I'm sure their latest album, 'Allez!' will be crammed full of similar beauties. So, look out for this single release - seek out the album - go see Zuba!!
(Rhythm & Booze rating 9)
Peter J Brown aka toxic pete (www.toxicpete.co.uk)

- ToxicPete.co.uk 09/05

"Absolutely superb"

"Absolutely superb"
Bob Harris, BBC Radio2, 25 June 2005 - BBC Radio2


2005 Election Day preview 3 track CD
2005 Allez! Allez! on Freeness Volume 1 compilation
2005 Moonlight on Welcome, a ROOT8 recordings compilation (RM101)
2005 Allez! 10 tracks album self-produced, released on own Bassa Beat Prod. (Bassa001)
2004 Tomayziyi on Glastonbury Unsigned Bands 2004 (Concrete Recordings)
2004 Tomayziyi on Songs of Freedom a MOJO/Big Issue Scotland compilation
2003 07/03 preview 3 track CD
2002 Mangowanda 4 track EP
2000 Chameleon 12 track album, released on Iona Gold Records (no longer available)
1999 Zuba 4 track EP


Feeling a bit camera shy



“A highly danceable message of tolerance, hope and happiness”
Sue Wilson, Sunday Herald

Zuba’s Bassa Beat is a multi-cultural, multi-lingual testament to hope, humanity and the sheer joy of a good melody.
The Scottish based 7-piece band present their new album Allez!

“Absolutely superb” Bob Harris, BBC Radio2

Zuba wrote and rehearsed Allez! in the basement of a disused sandwich factory in the centre of Glasgow in the long, wet summer of 2004. The following recording sessions ran through to November. The main idea of recording these songs was to define, refine and capture Zuba’s existing live sound – a sound borne of a fusion of different cultures but not defined by them. Zuba’s Bassa Beat is global cosmopolitanism almost by accident of birth. The band members were friends, who just happened to be musicians from different parts of the world, before they were a band.

“Allez! is the most stunning mix of western and African music since Paul Simon's Graceland” John Dingwall, Daily Record ****

Take a lead singer of Liberian griot lineage with a throat full of reggae and gospel, a Hebridean guitarist with a background in folk fingerpicking and 60s psychedelia, a Parisian percussionist who had travelled and drummed extensively in the world’s Latin quarters, an Aberdonian bassist with a fixation on finding the groove that would link Peter Gabriel’s world fusion and The Who, a Paisley-born jazz-inflected drummer who studied in Berklee, Boston, a Ugandan singer with a soul voice and an obsession with melancholic 70s singer-songwriters, and a Ghanaian dancer with one foot in the R’nB bag and the other dragging it away to African Gospel harmony choir recitals… stick them together in the back of a transit van for six years or so, lock them in a sandwich factory for a while and then entomb them in a smoke-filled recording studio and you have this album.
Zuba’s Bassa Beat is grounded on a melody and percussion driven sound – interwoven vocal harmonies vie with contrapuntal guitar lines over a backdrop of simmering rhythmic tension. Worldbeat flavours, afrobeat influences and traditional folk-based lyrical tales are basic ingredients in Zuba’s global melting pot. Gritty vocals, overheating valve amps and congas struggling to maintain tension against a constant onslaught inform the sound, while the basic live essence of seven people playing and singing together creates the atmosphere. This atmosphere is a humid blend of sunshine and shadows – the weather systems of Africa and Northern Europe. Liberia, France, Uganda, Scotland, Ghana – a new alliance.

“a stunning piece or work! … simply mind-blowing!” Peter J Brown, 10/10

Allez! was released on 11th June and is available now at www.zuba.co.uk, www.cdbaby.com and www.iMusicStage.com and in Fopp, Glagow.
Allez! is distributed all over the web: iTunes, Napster, YahooMusic…
ZUBA –The Band

“clever arrangements carry the imagination from Africa to Scotland, making other surprising stops along the way” ToxicPete, Rhythm and Booze

• The name Zuba comes from a Liberian term translated roughly as “Forget about your troubles and cheer up”. The trademarked ‘Bassa Beat’ tag comes from the popular Liberian dialect, Bassa or Bassan.
“Expertise that spans continents” The List

• Originally formed for a one-off concert in aid of Scottish International relief in 1998, Glasgow-based Zuba have been on the road ever since. They have supported Manu Chao, Femi Kuti, Papa Wemba, Salsa Celtica, Martyn Bennett, Ifang Bondi, Abdul T-Jay and many others. They have played in notorious venues and festivals including the Barrowlands, King Tut’s, Edinburgh Corn Exchange, Usher Hall, Towersey, T in the Park, Brampton.

“Zuba occasionally call to mind Peter Gabriel or the Afro-Celts but with a sound that is so confidently their own.****” Sue Wilson, Sunday Herald

• Zuba are a musical collective functioning as a self-financed, self-managing unit. They have used their music to support Amnesty International, Fairtrade, The Big Issue and many other charities. Lead singer Jerry Boweh launched the African Youth Development Action Project (AYDAP) in 2004.

“…an infectious hybrid of influences which has earned Zuba critical acclaim and full dancefloors wherever they play” John Dingwall, The Daily Record

• Zuba’s previous recordings – the ‘Zuba’ EP, ‘Chameleon’ and the ‘Mangowanda’ EP are regular fixtures on Liberian national Radio and Radio Scotland. Zuba’s music has been aired on World Music radio throughout the world. Their track “Tomayziyi” is part of ‘Glastonbury Unsigned Bands 2004’ (Concrete Recordings) and ‘Songs of Freedom’ (MOJO/Big Issue Scotland) compilations, ‘Moonlight’ is on ‘Welcome’ a ROOT8 compilation and “Allez! Allez!” has been picked up for the Freeness compilation.

“One of Britain’s best world music acts” The Daily Record

Jerry Boweh (Liberia) – Vocals / Guitar
Robin Miller (Scotland) – Lead Guitar / Acoustic Guitar