Zuba

Zuba

BandWorld

“One of Britain’s best world music acts” (Daily Record), Zuba is an international collective based in Scotland producing a heady upbeat crossover mix of West African folk, Latin rhythms, contrapuntal guitars and melodic vocals.

Biography

ZUBA’s BASSA BEAT

“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
Jaco

Lyrics

Mes Fantômes

Written By: Hubert Hove/ Anna Macdonald / Jacob Chaudeurge

MES FANTÔMES (My ghosts)

This song is about exile and how you can feel guilty not being home when you are needed, how some days the spirits of your loved ones can haunt your heart.

Translation:

My dead ones call me
Have you run away?
Go back home
Give them rest

We are needed back home

Where are the spirits?
Not in this country
Not in these people
But deep in my heart

We are needed back home
The ancestral spirits are calling us
So let’s go home, friends

The ancestor of the rain:
“Son, we need you”
The aunt in the river:
“Nephew, rejoin me”

We are needed back home

The shadows at the back of the woods:
“Cousin, were are your arms?”
The cry of a baby:
“Uncle, don’t abandon me”

Buried in my heart
Buried in my heart

Original lyrics (French and Shona)

Mes morts m’appellent
Aurais-tu fui?
Rentrer au Pays
Leur offrir le repos

Siyadingwa ekhaya

Où sont les esprits?
Pas dans ce pays
Pas parmis ces gens
Mais au fond de mon cœur

Siyadingwa ekhaya
Mudzimu wanetsa
Hasambeni madoda

L’ancêtre de la pluie:
“Fils, on a besoin de toi”
La tante dans le courant
“Neveu, rejoins-moi”

Siyadingwa ekhaya

Les ombres au fond des bois:
“Cousin, où sont tes bras?”
Le cri d’un nouveau-né:
“Oncle, ne m’abandonne pas”

Enfoui dans mon cœur
Enfoui dans mon cœur

Tomayziyi

Written By: Jerry Boweh

Tomayziyi (Let there be no more wars)

Lyrics focused on the situation of Jerry’s home country Liberia.
Lyrics in Bassa (Liberia)

English translation:

Their security has abandoned them
All they trusted abandoned them
The cries of the children
Their cries are laughter to their oppressors
This is our message
As I hear the children crying
Don’t you know that propaganda
Can break down any nation?

The eagle is flying high
Signalling danger on the ground
Lord, let there be no war

Hear the call of all the exiles
Hear the call and advice of the elders
They’ve all been chased away from home
They’re waiting to walk the home ground again
Don’t you know that violence
Is not a solution to any problem?

We want to return and rebuild
The legacy of our ancestors
Let by gone be by gone
Let a new day dawn with hope
Don’t you know without peace at home
Nowhere can really be a home?

Allez! Allez!

Written By: Jerry Boweh

English translation from Bassa

Some things you cannot do alone
Some things can never be done at once

Not all strangers are a threat
Neither are all friends trustworthy

Take your time…it pays to be patient

Good things are there if you value them
Opportunities are there if you can see them

Through life’s journey.
Take time, Take time…

Discography

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

Set List

Up to 1h30 of original material.

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