Laurent & Narcisse

Zieti is a musical group based in the Ivory Coast, with friends and collaborators in the US. Their songs are rooted in the Wè/Guéré music & culture of composers YEOUE Narcisse & TIENDE Laurent from the country's western region, but they find equal inspiration in the cosmopolitan soundscapes of Abidjan & beyond.

Pronunciations: ZIETI (Zee-YEH-tee); (WEH); GUÉRÉ (GEH-reh); YEOUE (YEH-whey); TIENDE (Tee-EN-day)

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April 12, 2004: Zieti Success! A jam-packed two weeks in Ivory Coast...

Greetings Zieti Family!It was a jam-packed two weeks together in Abidjan last month, but we are delighted to say that thanks to your generous support we were able to accomplish everything envisioned for Zieti’s 25-year reunion! We upgraded Narcisse’s Studio Yeoue in Abidjan with a 16-channel digital mixer, new mics, a powerful new computer, external monitor and two video cameras. In the process we multitracked five new songs including live drums by Zieti’s Abidjan-based drummer Anzian. In week #2 we drove west to deliver an 8-channel recording studio and video cameras to the future site of Studio Djepao at Laurent’s home in the mountains (scroll to the bottom for a photo map of that journey). In short, our brief time together was equal parts joy and hard work (and great food and camaraderie and heat and traffic!), and amazingly it was a complete and unequivocal SUCCESS!!!

Recording at Studio Yeoue

We did all this fully enveloped in Zieti family, beginning with Cherif, Zieti’s greatest friend and our host in Abidjan whose apartment (in a building he built himself!) was an oasis of good cheer, AC and high-speed WiFi every morning and evening. Narcisse’s home across town in Yopougon was equally welcoming, thanks to Deborah (who was 8 months pregnant!), their children, plus brothers, uncles, cousins and everyone in between (the baby in the slideshow below is Jacob, the newest member of Narcisse family, born March 24!).

In the western town of Duekoue we visited the home of Don Bosco, a WWII veteran and father of Zieti bass player Moz. We were welcomed by the family to visit and take images in Don Bosco’s private collection of over 1,000 African masks, statues, weapons, musical instruments, bowls, baskets, household implements and more that he began collecting in the 1940s until his death in 1984. Communing with the family in this spiritual space was truly an honor and food for much thought…

Laurent & Narcisse

Now that we have all our photos and videos compiled and organized (80gb!) we’ll be updating the website and sharing as we go on social media and in this newsletter. Meanwhile, construction continues apace on Studio Djepao and we all meet twice a week on Zoom to swap stories and advance our projects. We have also been bouncing tracks back and forth across the ocean to finish up the new recordings. As part of the Zieti family you will of course be the first to receive the final tracks just as soon as they’re ready!So this message is mainly just to express our deep thanks and let you know that every last instrument and bit of gear you helped us buy has made it to its intended destination! Zieti is literally “all systems go” and we couldn’t be more thankful and excited about next steps. Much more to come…

Laurent & Narcisse

Here’s how we got everything to Laurent’s home and future site of Studio Djepao:
1) Bags all packed with studio gear; arriving at the airport in DC.
2) Baggage claim in Abidjan (post-African Nations Cup) where our bags were nowhere to be found (thankfully everything arrived the next day and we made it through customs without incident).
3) The taximetre that brought all the gear across town from our home base chez Cherif to Studio Yeoue in Yopougon.
4) Studio Djepao gear tucked away in Narcisse’s studio while Zieti reunites!
5) All the gear packed into a rented SUV with a gas leak and faulty papers for the long drive west to Duekoue.
6) An amazing two days in Duekoue with Moz’s family, including a visit to his father’s incredible art collection!
7) Making bricks to build Studio Djepao in Laurent’s village one hour northwest of Duekoue.
8) Laurent with his studio gear safely arrived in the village via public transport (paying an extra seat for the bags).
9) 8-channel recording studio setup in a corner of Laurent’s room where we hold weekly training sessions via Zoom.

Studio Recordings

Released in 2023!

"J'ai pas eu d'enfant" is a lament from an aging man who never had children, wondering who will take care of him in his declining years. This is Zieti's first single of 2023, marking a new era of collaboration between Studio Yeoue in Abidjan and Rootstock Studios in the US, and features DC musicians Brian Simms (organ), Gregory Tanyi (guitar), Papa Diouf (drums), Jason Walker (congas) and Seyi Clegg (horns).

Available exclusively on Bandcamp

"Tu te fâche" translates to English as "You Get Angry" and is a plea from husband to wife as the poor man is at a loss for how to communicate without anger. Tu te fâche is Zieti's second single of 2023 and features Gregory Tanyi (guitar), Papa Diouf (drums), Jeremie Kouadio (keyboards) and Seyi Clegg (horns).

Available exclusively on Bandcamp

released in 2012

Zieti's album ZEMELEWA, 2011

Zieti interview on NPR's All Things Considered“Zemelewa is a solid debut for a band with stamina, grit and the musicality to breathe new life into retro sounds.”
-Afropop Worldwide's Banning Eyre on NPR
“…ageless and without stylistic borders.”
-Washington Post
“Zemelewa is one of the best collaborative efforts of its type and an early contender for one of 2012’s best.”
-World Music Central

Kouame, Gobea Roger and Narcisse at Studio Tambourin, 2006

Click here to meet the musicians on ZEMELEWA

Song Descriptions:

[Click song titles for lyrics and translations]1. ZEMELEWA …a song of patient perseverence despite suffering, which acts as a sort of benediction for the whole Zieti project.2. ZION DO …a prayer of thanks and for benediction to the most high, however you might conceive such a thing.3. TINDEHE …a call to cultural arms in this age of modernization-at-all-costs, and a reminder of the power of tradition as we move forward in this world.4. TCHE …a love song, to a woman who has already moved on.5. PATRIOTE …a call for unity to all Ivoirians, to work together to recreate their country’s prosperity.6. POLITIKI …an expression of utter disdain for divisive politics as usual in the Côte d'Ivoire, calling on politicians to work for the common good.7. DJEMIN …a caution to those who frequent prostitutes and engage in a promiscuous lifestyle despite the risk of HIV/AIDS.8. NATABLEHON …a song about renewed hope upon receiving a gift from a friend.9. BAH BOHI …a plea to fathers to address our problems despite our faults, as it is a father’s right and duty to do.10. SIDA …another warning against promiscuous behavior in the age of HIV/AIDS.11. MANDEDI* …translates as “brother,” calling on us all to recognize the realities of the world, specifically the power of money in human society through the ages, from metal bracelets to cowries to cash, credit cards & banks.12. ZRE* …”zre” describes a person who creates problems and palaver, for which the best antidote is always humbleness and the truth.* No transcription available.


ZEMELEWA (sung in Guere)Zemelewa awébélécé (bis)
han hoo hodjé zebar
hanho ha kpon ganhi diyor
hanho zieti kaho
han hoo hodjé zebar
han ho yaho
boloua doué zialo nan hon
dji golo zongni wawoho djoulêdy manhou
han ho yaho
Mon nehin non djêmin man woho
Dêman nohan n’djibi bomin man woho gnemahi
n’cé behin byblar nandji man woho
mehe djio laurent man woho
déa nehinlé zieti dy monhou woho gnehami
baha ceble sou manhou sou manhou woho yéhé
ounan ousea dêdjouwo souê ê
Gnan nawan nonzon gbahi yê blahe dy manwo
zon bgayédy esea gouêdê nehan mouhan
hanho yaho
kouiplou pohé bokoui dibou plo boulon han ho
koula kpan wêhé kouê kpanho
kouê kpan koulaka léhé
zemelewa awébélécé (bis)
han ho hodje zebar
Mandjia bléhan an
abou ornouhin. abou or nouhin monhou gnemahi
djia amon tonhon blehoun dêho
zietia yôrô kaho. zieti gniniwêho gnemahi
baboua douê zialo nanhou dji
golozon gniwa woho djoulêdy manhou wo
touwa seye mondji wêho gnemahi
deyanou woho. Zieti ya noukao
Zietia tonhon blehoum deho gnemahi
gbaî welê ha blaho (bis)
zietia yôrô kaho gnemahi
monhé djio laurent – monhou woho
danehon non zieti diya
abouhon tonhon gnondêho gnou boua
zemelewa awébélécé…
ZEMELEWA (French translation)Du n’importe quoi, tôt ou tard on le saura. Soutenons notre terroir. Zieti est là pour le faire. Tôt ou tard on le saura.Eh oui! Chaque prestation de ce groupe envoûtera et drainera du monde.Eh oui! Le temps que j’ai passé en ville, homme, je faisais mes recherché. Pour certains, c’est un jeu sans suiteDjio Laurent, mon compagnon de toujours, depuis la création de Zieti l’on nous traite de minable et d’incapable lorsque nous chantions.Mais nous sommes comme l’ecorse et l’arbre, comme l’ongle et le doigt.Toute oevre se construit à des étapes à gravir. Ces étapes sont la cause de notre retard.
Du n’importe quoi, tôt ou tard on le saura.
Je chanterai. Homme, nous créons et ne cesserons de créer. Bon sang, nous avions appris aux autres que l’heure de Zieti à sonné.Chaque prestation de ce groupe envoûtera et drainera du monde. Tchwa Séyé vous salut. Ne soyez pas étonné. C’est l’oeuvre de Zieti, professeur du folk. Du n’importe quoi, tôt ou tard on le saura.Nous faisons tous du folklore et l’heure de Zieti à sonné. Djio laurent, mon compagnon de toujours, notre fidelité pour Zieti est incomparable. Ame généreuse, nous avions appris aux autres que du n’importe quoi, tôt ou tard on le saura…
ZEMELEWA (English translation)Come what may, sooner or later we will know what’s what. Let us support our traditions. Zieti was created for that purpose. Sooner or later we will know what is what.Yes! Every presentation of this group will captivate huge crowds.Yes! The time I spent in the city, my friend, I did my research. For some people, that is a game with no end.Djio Laurent, my constant companion, since the creation of Zieti they say we are nothing, and that we cannot sing.But together we remain like the tree and its bark, like the nail and the finger.All master works are built in small steps. These steps are the cause of our delay.
But no matter, sooner or later we will know what is what.
I will sing. Brother, we are composing and will not stop creating. Hell, we already told it to the others. The time for Zieti has come.Every presentation of this group will hold the world spellbound. Tchwa Séye greets you. Do not be surprised, this is the work of Zieti, professors of folklore. Come what may, sooner or later we will know what is what.We remain committed to our folklore, and the hour of Zieti has sounded. Djio Laurent, my constant companion, our loyalty to Zieti is unrivaled. Generous soul, we have already told the others. No matter what happens, sooner or later we will know what is what.
Copyright 2011 by YEOUE Narcisse & Tiende Laurent. All rights reserved.
Published 2011 by Rootstock Music (ASCAP)


ZION DO (sung in Guere)[No Guere transcription yet…]
ZION DO (French translation)Il n’y a pas du jamais vu, tout a été vu.
La créativité, la spiritualité, la connaissance,
l’inspiration sont divine.
Dieu pose des actes bénéfiques
Ne le louons pas avec des actes figuratifs.
Rendons lui grace car sa gloire est grande.
Tu nous a fait trepieds Seigneur
Fait de sorte qu’il ne nous manqué point de pied
Unis-nous enfin que nous soyons serviable à toi et l’humanité
Oh! Seigneur au grand des cieux
Tu fait des merveilles pour nous Musiciens.
Notre foi en la musique et la lumière qui
Éclair noter route vers toi.
Pose toujours pour nous des actes bénéfiques
Détruire pour nous les choses malefiques
Nous te rendons grace car ta gloire est grande.
ZION DO (English translation)There is nothing new in this world. Everything has been seen.
Creativity, spirituality, knowledge, inspiration
All come from the divine.
God demands acts of kindness
Do not offer him false praise and symbolic acts.
Give to him grace, for his glory is great.
Lord you have made us a tripod
Made it so we are never missing a foot (??)
Unite us so that we may serve you and humanity
Oh Lord in heaven
You perform miracles for us musicians
Our passion for music is the lamp that lights our path toward you.
Offer us yet your acts of kindness
Destroy for us all evil thoughts
We offer you grace, for your glory is great.
Copyright 2011 by YEOUE Narcisse & Tiende Laurent. All rights reserved.
Published 2011 by Rootstock Music (ASCAP)


TINDEHE (Sung in Guere)[No Guere transcription yet…]
TINDEHE (French translation)Afrique racine d’Afrique
Crions retrouvail culturel
Autrefois tu as chanté, dansé au sons du tam-tam
Alliance historique
Alliance encestral
Aujourd’hui les loisirs d’avant ont disparu
Tes rites abandonés
Ta culture reniée
Ta religion ignorée
Pourtant nous savons tous que l’oiseau n’oublie jamais son nid
Voilá tes guerriers pour ton avenir culturel et pour te valoriser
Voilá tes guerriers, benit-les pour que vive le tam-tam, notre embassadeur
Afrique racine d’Afrique
Crions retrouvail culturel
Tam-tam, tam-tam, notre alliance encestrale
TINDEHE (English translation)Africa, root of Africa
We are crying out for a cultural revival
You used to sing and dance to the drum
Ancient bond
Ancestral alliance
Today the pleasures of old have vanished
Your rituals abandoned
Your culture disowned
Your religion ignored
Yet we all know that the bird never forget its nest
We are warriors for the future of our culture, and we amplify your legacy
Here are your warriors. Bless them so that that our ambassador, the drum, may live on
Africa, root of Africa
We are crying out for a cultural revival
Tam-tam, tam-tam, our ancestral bond
Copyright 2011 by YEOUE Narcisse & Tiende Laurent. All rights reserved.
Published 2011 by Rootstock Music (ASCAP)


TCHE (sung in French & Guere)Chorus in Guere (x2)
[No Guere transcription yet…]
Moi je t’aime et je t’aimerais tout ma vie
Meme si tu ne me crois pas
L’amour que je porte pour toi ma dou-dou
Est ma soif, et tu est ma source
Il me sera difficile de croire
Que tu est parti pour un autre vie
Mois je t’aime et je t’aimerer
Mmm, tu est mon nid
Chorus in GuereVerses in Guere till the end.---TCHE (English translation)Chorus in Guere (x2)I love you, and I will love you all my life
Even if you don’t believe me
The love that I carry for you, my sweet
Is my thirst, and you are my spring
It will be difficult for me to accept
That you have left for another life
I love you and will always love you
Mmm, you are my nest.
Chorus in GuereVerses in Guere till the end.
Copyright 2011 by YEOUE Narcisse & Tiende Laurent. All rights reserved.
Published 2011 by Rootstock Music (ASCAP)


PATRIOTE (sung in French & Guere)Fils d’eburnie,
viens bâtir ton pays,
pour rester à l’abri
et protèger ton acquis.
Attention à ces amis,
artisans des conflits.
Ils sèment de la zizianie,
te prendront pour bouki.
Adrehé pihi win ayé pohan yé dezion gninin mou
Bo awehi dehi yé
agnan bahé gueya
kahan bloa anehan non
orye norhé diyomounin diyê
dobo gnin nimou
do djouwa gnin nimou
do zouhou djê gnin nimou
Adrehé pihi win ayé pohan yé dezion gninin mou.
Si nous sommes de la patrie,
la paix sera notre parie,
la paix notre crédit
toute la vie, notre abri.
Adrehé pihi win ayé pohan yé dezion gninin mou.
Ce on dit de qui quiriqui
tu as toujours promis,
si tu as un souci
ne te fais pas ennemi.
Grand ou petit,
le camp que tu as choisi
restons toujours unis
devant Dieu, en spirit.
Adrehé pihi win ayé pohan yé dezion gninin mou…
PATRIOTE (French translation of Guere lyrics)
Lavons-nous avec la potion de Dieu pour avoir sa benediction
Si nous prions le bon Dieu
Pour délivrer, sauver notre monde
Un monde de paix et de bonheur
Au nom du père celeste
Au nom du fils
Au nom du saint espirit
PATRIOTE (English translation)Sons of eburnie, come rebuild your country, to keep it safe and protect your assets.Beware of these so called friends, creators of conflict. They sow seeds of rivalry, and regard you as a country bumpkin.Let us bathe in the holy waters of God and receive his blessing.
[spoken] Let us pray to the good Lord to deliver us and save our world, a world of peace and happiness. In the name of the heavenly father, in the name of the son, in the name of the holy spirit, amen.
Let us bathe in the holy waters of God and receive his blessing.
If this is our country, peace is our only way, peace is our credit, throughout our life, it is our security.
Let us bathe in the holy waters of God and receive his blessing.
They tell you about some leader, always making promises. If you are in difficulty, you make no enemies.
Let us bathe in the holy waters of God and receive his blessing.
Copyright 2011 by YEOUE Narcisse & Tiende Laurent. All rights reserved.
Published 2011 by Rootstock Music (ASCAP)


POLITIKI (sung in Guere & French)Aho woulou bodê (3 fois)
Bomon séablé woulou bodê (bis)
gnaho boha
cétémigne paho golo dy wê nin
cétémigne or ya golo ya
aho céor djékéhé
ho hanho ne hanho ne hanho
min mon céhé mou mehan owobo
kouia wou woho woho
kouia wou woho woho hanho ne
deha gnahan songhe sorhé soê
deor sea bouble or tchinhin
yibo koyea
han wo woho woho
je ne suis pas politicien
je n’adore pas la politique
la politique d’aujourd’hui fait naître la guerre
le genocide
je ne suis pas politicien
elle divise le peuple
partisane de la haine
provoque des conflits
han who woho woho
je ne suis pas politicien
elle blesse le coeur et rougit les yeux
Notre salut la paix et le bonheur
politique dé, elle n’est pas poli
je ne suis pas politicien
politicien choisi la création
et non la rebellion
je ne suis politicien
politicien, nous voulons l’unité
et non la division…
POLITIKI (French translation of Guere lyrics)Ne m’en voulez pas (3 fois)
Si je chante, ne m’envoulez pas (bis)
Je vous en prie
Le mauvais côté des menteurs
Quand ils débarquent chez vous
Sèment la division et du désordre
Ho maman
Ho maman, cà me derange
Ho encêtre, ho encêtre
Ils nous trainent en bateau
Avec leurs mensonges
Arrivent à nous dispercer
POLITIKI (English translation)Do not blame me (3 times)
If I sing, do not blame me (repeat)
I beg of you.
This nasty group of liars, when they arrive at your home, will sow division and chaos.Oh Mother! Oh mother, it makes me crazy.Oh ancestors! Oh forefathers! They drag us in their boats. With their lies they make us disperse.I don’t follow politicians. I don’t like politics. Politics today gives rise to war and genocide. I do not follow politicians. They divide their people. They are on the side of hatred and provoking conflict.I do not follow politicians. Politics hurts the heart and reddens the eyes.Where is our peace and happiness? There is nothing polite about politics. I don’t follow politicians. Politicians, you should choose to build and not only rebellion. I don’t follow politicians. Politician, we want unity and not division.
Copyright 2011 by YEOUE Narcisse & Tiende Laurent. All rights reserved.
Published 2011 by Rootstock Music (ASCAP)


DJEMIN (sung in Guere)Sehan yekehe (4 fois)
Hanho neo neo dei yoman
Tchoi seye nehin non djinmin manhon wo
Deman nohan in djibibomin
Zoko ho ahé yehe de yanho
Djinmin gnonnon kpahé…
Ho séa guedê min djibohê
Gnoumou dehibo ôrmou inhinbo
Bo guedê nehanwê minya doho glohi
Péhêtou nehanho djézéman gnouwehi yadiou manhon ho
Djin blea SIDA in kaho yéhê
Ahe yede yanho
Ahe yede yanho
Djinmin gnonnon kpahe
Ho séa guedê min djibohê
Owa pohê gbêhéya prix 300, 300
Djinmin gnonnonhon 300, 300
You woho dohou wo (4 fois)
Hanho ného dé hinpolé timbo woulouo
Monyéman guea kan nin manhonya
Gue awon man wouloua blazolê ninhin
Man woulou yehahe zolêdy gohê manhonya
Zokowo gnemahi ayé yéhé dé gnanho
Djinmin gnon non kpahe
Oh séa guedê min djibohé
DJEMIN (French translation)Avez-vous déjà vu? (4fois)
Oh Parents! Oh Maman! Tchoi Séyé d’Adjamé sait ce qu’il fait en dévoilant les secrets de la rue.
Jeunesse écoute ceci. Jeunes filles d’Adjamé dans l’ignorance, font la prostitution. Elles sortent avec le petit-frère et grand-frère.Ce genre d’amour draine des maladies. Ma belle, si tu étais une fontaine, celui qui boira ton eau ira malade. Voilà ce qui propage le SIDA.Blague à part, les jeunes filles d’Adjamé dans l’ignorance, font la prostitution.
Fille de joie à 300 – 300 (fcfa). Jeunes filles d’adjamé de 300 – 300.
Mère et fille (4 fois)
Oh parents, prenez note à ce message elu de mon coeur.
Epouse mes idées et apporte-moi ton concours pour lutter contre ce fleau
Jeunesse, hommes, ensemble luttons.
Les jeunes filles d’adjamé, dans l’ignorance, font la prostitution.
DJEMIN (English translation)Have you seen it already? (4 times)
Oh Parents – Oh Maman. Tchoi Séyé from Adjamé knows what he is doing when he reveals the secrets of the street.
Youth hear this! The young girls of Adjamé, in ignorance, are prostituting themselves with their brothers both young and old.This kind of love attracts disease. My dear, if you were a fountain, whoever drank your water would get sick. This is what spreads AIDS.This is not a joke. Young girls of Adjamé, in ignorance, are prostituting themselves.
Good time girls for only 300-300 (fcfa). Young girls from Adjamé for 300-300.
Mother and daughter (4 times)
Oh parents, take note of this message straight from my heart.
Join me and lend your support to fight against this scourge.
Youth, men, let us fight this together. The young girls of Adjamé, in ignorance, are prostituting themselves.
Copyright 2011 by YEOUE Narcisse & Tiende Laurent. All rights reserved.
Published 2011 by Rootstock Music (ASCAP)


NATABLEHON (sung in Guere)[Guere lyrics coming soon...]
NATABLEHON (French translation)Pendant me creativities, je me demande á chaque instant si un jour une âme genereuse viendront me secourir, viendront me donner un coup de pouce.Et comme en éclaire, voila Natasha qui debarque et me dit, “Tchwa Seye, tu vas chanté, tu vas chanté. Tu chanteras, seul la fatigue te fera retirer du chant.”Natasha est reparti me rassurant que le moment viendrait. Femme de fer au parole pure, me dit, “Tu remercieras la souffrance de t’avoir forger. Il faut croire et avoir foi.”Djio laurent et moi sommes nuisibles aux yeux des autres. Ses paroles nous reconfortent. Voilà le temps de zieti. Soit notre fourche. Soit notre guide.
NATABLEHONatablehon (English translation)
While I am composing I sometimes wonder if one day a generous soul might help me, might give me a boost.Then, as if a beacon of light, there was Natasha who came and said, “Tchwa Seye, you will sing, you are going to sing. You will sing, and only fatigue will keep you from singing.”Natasha left with reassurances that our time was coming. A strong woman of pure speech, she said, “You will not regret this suffering that has made you who you are. You must believe and have faith.”Djio Laurent and I are nothing in the eyes of others. But her words give us comfort. Now is the time for Zieti. May you be our support. May you be our guide.
Copyright 2011 by YEOUE Narcisse & Tiende Laurent. All rights reserved.
Published 2011 by Rootstock Music (ASCAP)


BAH BOHI (sung in Guere)Bah bohi ordoua djou serinle
ortemehan koumou dylé
or bla wehe bole
or gnehan zea bloa
ah wehe deya sanhan gnou wingne gnin
houm! zahi blewon min hanhe
ne, kabah nehan behor dele é eh he he
houm! bomon sidjibi gnoumou djibi
ne. bomon tea mondjê bo tinle he é é é
Houm! n’cé mondjê nou
zahi blewon mon man playoho
Gninouhan bon bahmin, bah mon nin zion (bis)
bamon nehan zion dehe
deya gnahan mou zorhi déhé
kpingnin kpehan manbou kpa ah a a
bah bohi, bah bohi zapêhé déhé
zapêhé déhé é é
you non ye wloké (4 fois)
or ye wlô hahé; you mon non ye wlô halé mantchê
hanho wlô gninou min wlô wlô
deman you or nonhe kpahe eho wéhé é
man you or nonhé kpahe wo-wo
man you or nonhe kpahe keheo
man you glohe kpahe wouheooo ba bohi
aho wlô gninou min wlôwlô
haho poh gninou sonbo leba (4 fois)
kpahe mon nehon gminhin hahéé
man you man gnin monho, man you o êman gmin monho
man you lehé man gninmonho hooo, man you man gnin monho
n’nan man gnin monho, man you wohoman gninmonho
man you lehé e êman gnin monhouo, man you léhé
man gninmon leheee, n’nan man gninmon soulé é é
man you kaho man gnin monho, man you hanhan ho
man gnin monho o o man youo man gninmon lehe bah bohi
haho wlô gninou min wlôwlô
Gninouhan bon bahmin, bah mon nin zion (bis)
bamon nehan zion dehe
deya gnahan mou zorhi déhé
kpingnin kpehan manbou kpa ah a a
bah bohi, bah bohi zapêhé déhé
zapêhé déhé é é…
BAH BOHI (French translation)
père educateur
historien wê
partageant son savoir
avec le peuple zea
palabre de wê est très collant
tout bon palabreux a une base
grandmère, si j’ignore la grandeur de mon père
houm! ceux qui le connaissance on sa faveur
grand-mère, mon récule, mon silence
houm! dans le fond, pas ma faute
j’évite les discutions interminables du palabreux
tes enfants te réclament, père
parce que c’est toi leur seigneur
père, notre Dieu
ce qui n’a pas eté plaisant à ton égard
le mal qu’on-t-a causeé, oh père
pardonne-nous et ne soit pas au regret
l’enfant n’a pas demandé à naitre (4 fois)
avant même de naître, il n’a pas demandé à naître
Parents, vous en mettez au monde seulement
que fait ton fils dans la rue?
qu’est-ce qu’il fait au juste dehors?
pourquoi est-il sans abri?
père, ton fils a trop trainé
vous en mettez au monde seulement
Je vous prie d’aider les enfants
la rue n’est leur demeure
ton fils, ton sang
le sang de tes encètres, ton sang
le sang de la reincarnation, ton sang
le sang de la vie, ton sang
ton sang, ton fils, ton sang
Vous en mettez au monde seulement
tes enfants te réclament, père
parce que c’est toi leur seigneur
père, notre Dieu
ce qui n’a pas eté plaisant à ton égard
le mal qu’on-t-a causeé, oh père
pardonne-nous et ne soit pas au regret
BAH BOHI (English translation)
Father, educator,
historian of the Wê people,
imparts his knowledge
with the Zea people
Disagreements between Guere are very complex.
Every disagreement has a basis
grandmother, if I ignore the greatness of my father
hum! those who know it will have his favor
grandmother, my retreat, my silence
hum! In the end it is not my fault
I avoid involvement in these ceaseless palavers.
Your children are calling you father
because you are their lord.
Father, our God
that which did not please you
the harm that we have caused you, oh father
forgive us and have no regrets
No child asked to be born (4 times)
even before birth, he did not ask to be born
Parents, you alone have brought them into the world.
What are your sons doing in the street?
What exactly is he doing out there?
Why is he homeless?
Father, your son has suffered too much
You alone have brought him into the world
Please help your children
the street is not their home.
Your son is your blood.
The blood of your ancestors, your blood
The blood of the reincarnation, your blood
The blood of life, your blood
Your blood, your son, your blood
You alone have brought him into the world
Your children are calling you father
because you are their lord.
Father, our God
that which did not please you
the harm that we have caused you, oh father
forgive us and have no regrets
Copyright 2011 by YEOUE Narcisse & Tiende Laurent. All rights reserved.
Published 2011 by Rootstock Music (ASCAP)


SIDA (sung in Guere & French)Wouloumon Wouloumon
wouloumon zigué bo
woulor boum blaha
nohoudy gnonwan noukan
boua noinlé boua noin gbézéhibly
bomon cétoumou
minbowa tohê by yahonbo
bomon cétoumou
min awatoê yiria zahé klé
minmon ninyor céyé or kpawon
or kpawon zadi daha
zadi da pinkacié léhé
pin kacié mandy gohi
SIDA yahi yê my yélé hé-é-é nohoudy
Aboua nouhin gbé zéhibly dididelé-é
Aboua nohin mon bêyiriê yiri monhou soulélé
abouady cégnion dyni déléhé-é
Djia Manhonwo
pehêtou nehan djézé
Gnon wehi ya diou manhon ho
djin bléa SIDA inkanon monho
man non djinbléa SIDA inkanon monho
mantemon hin
Elles sont attirantes
aux regards foudroyants
prêtes à céder
ont voulou m’entrainer
dans leur lieu du SIDA
et moi je dis non
je dis non, je dis non, je dis non.
[Chausson – nous, chaussons-nous
chaussons la capote, notre pot]
SIDA (French translation)
Laisse, laisse, laisse ma cherie. Laisse-là en paix. Frère, cette maniére est revolueFaites comme des chiens. Vous refusez de m’écouter. Quand je fais appel
vous claquez la porte, vous me blâmez.
Je suis le jamais vu rentre en moi. Une fois dans ton corps tu demeures prisonier. Une prison à vie j’ai peur, le SIDA fait ravage.Faites commes les chiens. Faites l’amour ou vous voulez et quand vous voulez. Ne considérez personne.Oh seigneur! La prostitution, la nourriture de tous, voilà ce qui propage le SIDA.
Je vous le dis.
Elles sont attirantes. aux regards foudroyants. Prêtes à céder, ont voulou m’entrainer dans leur lieu du SIDA. Et moi je dis non. Je dis non, je dis non, je dis non, je dis non, je dis non![Chaussons-nous, chaussons-nous, chaussons la capote, notre pote]
SIDA (English translation)
Leave it, leave it there, leave it alone my dear.
Leave it in peace. Brother, this way is no good anymore.
You act like dogs. You refuse to listen to me. When I com calling you slam the door, you blame me.I am like a phantom returned to myself, prisoner in my own body, serving a life term . I am afraid. HIV is taking its toll.You act like dogs. You make love wherever you want, whenever you want. You don’t care about anyoneOh lord! Prostitution, everyone’s bread and butter, this is what is spreading AIDS. I’m telling youThey are attractive with their seductive glances. Ready to sell their body
they want to lead me into their world of AIDS. But I say no. I say no, I say no, I say no, I say no, I say no!
[Slip it on, Slip it on, Slip on a condom, our little friend]
Copyright 2011 by YEOUE Narcisse & Tiende Laurent. All rights reserved.
Published 2011 by Rootstock Music (ASCAP)

Current Projects

Studio Yeoue logo

Studio Yeoue launched in 2023 near the Antenne-Maroc neighborhood of Yopougon Abidjan. With a 16-channel StudioLive 16r interface and the latest Studio One and Cubase software, Narcisse and co-engineer Geremie Kouadio can capture live drums, as well as mix and master market-ready tracks for distribution, making it a small-but-mighty new addition to the Ivoirian recording scene. Newly upgraded and now with video capabilities, Studio Yeoue works in close collaboration with Rootstock Studios in the US, fostering unique creative opportunities and continual growth. Stay tuned!

Studio Djépao (JE-pa-oh) is an 8-channel multitrack recording studio located in the mountainous western region of Côte d'Ivoire at the family home of Zieti co-founder TIENDE Laurent. Construction began in December 2023 and in February 2024 Michael and Alex travelled to Ivory Coast for a long-overdue reunion (25 years!), and to bring the complete studio system they were able to purchase through the generosity of GoFundMe supporters. We meet twice per week on Zoom so Laurent can learn how to use his new gear while construction continues apace. Once fully launched this will be the only studio of its kind in the region, and along with Zieti's music Laurent's full energy will go toward giving voice to the Guéré culture all around him. The possibilities in this rural oasis of sound are truly exciting!

Zieti Band

Rehearsal Space & Live Demo Studio!

Part of Zieti's mission is to help revive the spirit of experimentation and collaboration that defined the Ivoirian sound in its 70s and 80s heyday. So we are making plans to open a rehearsal and live demo recording space in Abidjan. Narcisse is scouting locations while we work and fundraise for the necessary gear to complement and upgrade what he already has, including instruments, amps, mics, computers, cables, stands, PA speakers and a mixing console that can capture multitrack recordings of a live band. This space will provide a sustainable business for Zieti and a lifeline for roots musicians in Abidjan, not least facilitating the rebirth of Zieti as a working group in Côte d'Ivoire.

About Zieti

Laurent & Narcisse

Zieti is a Wè (Guéré) term that describes something rooted, stable and long-lasting.

Laurent and Narcisse are both Guéré, which is a subset of a larger group known as Wè who live across eastern Liberia and Western Ivory Coast. In Liberia they are called Krahn or Kru, and were some of the first West Africans to encounter the acoustic guitar, spreading early palmwine music further east as crewmen on Portuguese ships.

[click to learn more about les peuples Wè (Guéré)]

Zieti is a trans-continental experiment in musical kinship 25 years in the making. You can click through to "read more" but here are the broad outlines of Zieti's story to-date, in three acts...

Zieti and Family, 1998

ACT I (1990-2000): Laurent and Narcisse form a songwriting duo and move from their home in Western Côte d'Ivoire to Abidjan. They meet Americans Alex and Michael in 1997 and create the group Zieti, forming an indelible bond, performing and recording together until Laurent is called west upon the passing of his mother and the Americans return home shortly before a coup d'état on Christmas Eve 1999 edges the country toward civil war...

Zieti's album ZEMELEWA, 2011

ACT II (2004-2018): After the war, Laurent and Narcisse reunite in Abidjan, record 12 tracks and send them to Michael in DC, producing the album ZEMELEWA which is featured on American national media like NPR's All Things Considered and Afropop Worldwide. With the help of friends the band manages several shipments of donated musical gear to Abidjan and purchases land for a new music center. In 2013 Laurent & Narcisse perform with touring American group Matuto at the Palais de la Culture in Treichville. The land purchase ultimately falls through and Zieti parlays the donated gear into a successful rehearsal space at the Marcory home of their bassist and musical mentor Corentin Don Bosco, but the project stalls again as the country enters a second period of civil unrest...

Zieti on Zoom, 2023

ACT III (2021-today): When the dust settles again, Laurent and Narcisse continue their struggle to live through music, playing at a series of Abidjan bars and cabarets until 2018 when Laurent is again called West to see after his aging father. Zieti's momentum wanes as COVID enters the picture...only to flow again more strongly than ever post-COVID with renewed contact, several shipments of musical gear in 2022-23, a new studio opened in Abidjan, two new Zieti songs produced trans-continentally, ongoing weekly Zoom calls and big plans for the future...

Zieti Bios

YEOUE Glaoulou Narcisse

YEOUE Glaoulou Narcisse
lead singer, composer, multi-instrumentalist, studio engineer

TIENDE Djos Laurent

TIENDE Djos Laurent
singer, composer, guitarist, poet

Michael Shereikis

Michael Shereikis
guitarist, producer, studio engineer

Alex Owre

Alex Owre

Choosing Music (Act I)

Zieti's journey began in the early-90s when songwriting duo TIENDE Laurent and YEOUE Narcisse left their homes in western Côte d'Ivoire to pursue music in the big city. They settled in Port-Bouët, a beach shanty on the outskirts of Abidjan's industrial port and began looking for ways to make their living through music. They created or joined various short-lived area bands like Littoral Groupe and Bouboua de Port-Bouët, and they had some success in radio and television battle-of-the-band contests like Radio Vacances, Podium and Marlboro Rocking, often finalists, always crowd favorites, but somehow never taking top prize...

Littorale Group de Port Bouet

In 1997 American drummer Alex Owre moved to Abidjan with his wife Ellen, fresh from living and working with djembe group Watinoma in Burkina Faso. Alex was on the lookout for roots sounds in the city and soon met Rasta street preacher King Shabba, who introduced him to Laurent and Narcisse. Their music was exactly what Alex hoped to find so he shipped his Gretsch drums from the US and began building Pan Goat Studio, Zieti's future HQ in Abidjan. Later that year Michael Shereikis, another American, moved to Abidjan for dissertation research on the Ivoirian music scene, with his guitar and Pignose amp in tow. Alex and Michael soon met and within a week were rehearsing with Laurent, Narcisse, Shabba and bass player Aristide Gnakale.

They rehearsed several times a week at Pan Goat or under a paillote on the beach where they would schlep Alex's drum kit, guitars and battery powered amps to hold impromptu semi-public jams. Lunch was sardine sandwiches and cold bags of water, and they never tasted so sweet. But gigs were few, far between and replete with headaches of every conceivable sort arising from the DIY nature of live music in Abidjan. The dominant performance style at the time was "playback," i.e., singing or lip-synching to pre-recorded tracks. There were precious few venues for live, original music in the city, so Zieti would play anywhere they could, at expat parties, restaurants, roadside maquis, community events and festivals.

They also recorded, using hand-held devices and a Tascam 8-track cassette recorder Michael's brother brought over in 1998. They shot fuzzy video using a camcorder loaned by friends, and in 1999 they managed to record a 10-song album at Studio Soft in Abidjan with some great musicians from Orchestre RTI. Alex returned to the US in April 1999, and then Michael in November. Plans were made for Narcisse and Laurent to finish the Studio Soft recording while Michael and Alex prepared their return to Abidjan in the new year to promote Zieti's debut album.

Before they could finish the recording however, Laurent's mother passed away and he went west for the funeral rites. While he was away, there was a coup d'etat on Christmas Eve 1999 and Abidjan suddenly became very unstable, very fast. Everyone holed up waiting to see what would happen and plans to reunite were shelved indefinitely. In the turmoil, Studio Soft closed its doors and Zieti's 10-song master tapes slipped into oblivion. Maintaining contact within Côte d'Ivoire became difficult as conditions deteriorated violently, particularly in the western regions where Laurent was essentially M.I.A. Communicating across the Atlantic was nearly impossible. The band tried to keep in touch and send support, but phone cards and Western Union transactions were problematic at best. Meanwhile, life continued apace for everyone. children were born on both sides of the Atlantic, jobs and dissertations came and went and the days and weeks got too full to allow Zieti the space it deserved. The line went silent as Côte d'Ivoire entered its first period of civil war from 2002-2004.

Narcisse at home, 2000

Best-Laid Plans (Act II)

After the fighting died down in 2004 Laurent was able to rejoin Narcisse and they continued as best they could piecing together a life with the gear their American friends had left them, but it was a struggle. They hustled gigs in a long series of clubs, and Narcisse made two trips to Burkina Faso singing backup for another group, just trying to make ends meet for his young family. Meanwhile, Alex settled in Maine and Michael in the Washington DC area with their own young families.

Narcisse in Burkina Faso

In DC, Michael met Ivoirian bass player AHO Clement at an African record shop and learned they had some eerie connections. It turned out Clement was from Port-Bouët, the same beachside neighborhood in Abidjan as Laurent and Narcisse and in fact knew them already! He was also working hard in the US so he could build and equip a recording studio back home in Port-Bouët. Over the next several years Michael helped Clement source and ship gear to Abidjan and when Studio Tambourin opened in 2006, Zieti was the first project recorded in the new space. Laurent and Narcisse spent several days laying down tracks and then sent the tapes to Michael in the US, releasing a cassette version in Abidjan entitled, "Terroir."

After many fits and starts, the resulting album ZEMELEWA was released in 2012 featuring vocals, guitar and harmonica recorded in Abidjan, drums recorded by Alex in Maine, and bass, guitar, organs, percussion and horns recorded by Michael and friends from the DC African music scene. The album received critical acclaim, including an interview on NPR's All Things Considered with Guy Raz and a glowing review by Banning Eyre on Afropop Worldwide.

On the strength of ZEMELEWA's reception and through the generosity of DC area musicians, friends and family, several shipments of donated gear made it to Abidjan in 2012 with amps, guitars, drums, mixer, stage snake, PA speakers, mics, stands and even a clarinet and trombone. The band also put down an initial payment on 8,600 square feet of land in a developing beach area east of Abidjan. This was where they were going to build their future home, with a rehearsal space, studio and small live music venue. Things were looking up!

Laurent & Narcisse

Unfortunately, due to some underhanded dealings, the property deposit fell through and much of the investment was lost with no land in the end. Discouraged but undeterred, Narcisse and Laurent set up the donated gear in Marcory at the home of their cousin Corentin "Moz" Don Bosco, a talented bassist and music teacher. They ran a successful business for years in that space, renting rehearsal time to Aïcha Kone and others.

In 2013 Zieti hooked up with American band Matuto who were on a US State Department tour of several African countries. They played together at the Palais de la Culture in Treichville and at Villa Kaidin for Ambassadors and NGO leaders, to an exuberant reception.

The rehearsal space shut down in 2016 due to noise complaints, and the gear largely went into storage. In 2018 Laurent was once again called home to help his aging father attend to their land and property holdings in rural western Côte d'Ivoire, much of which had been burned +/or occupied illegally since the war. His plan was to stay for a month or two, but the affairs were complicated and Laurent has been living with his father in their family home ever since. Meanwhile, Narcisse stayed in Abidjan playing percussion on the weekends to support his young family. Alex and Michael were raising families of their own in the US and life once again got too crowded to allow Zieti space to breathe.

Renaissance (ACT III)

With the COVID pandemic subsiding toward the end of 2021, Alex paid a visit to Michael in DC. They contacted Narcisse on Skype and had a long overdue chat, catching up on everyone's news. Michael and Narcisse continued talking on Skype and Facebook into the new year, and when severe flooding inundated Narcisse's low-lying neighborhood, Cherif--Zieti's greatest friend and Michael's neighbor in the US--found a new, 2nd story apartment for Narcisse and his family in Yopougon that could accommodate a studio. Cherif also made possible two more shipments of studio gear to Narcisse in 2022, including a laptop loaded with recording & communications software, studio monitors, mics, MIDI keyboard, headphones, a drum kit and all the necessary cables and stands for a full-service recording studio.

For the next 18 months Michael and Narcisse spent countless hours on Zoom getting everything installed and learning the recording software (screen share for the win!). Studio Yeoue launched in 2023 from Narcisse's apartment in Yopougon and has co-produced two new Zieti songs and now hosts a steady stream of clients with co-engineer Jeremie Kouadio. More studio upgrades and recordings coming soon...

Laurent re-entered the picture in December 2022 via glitchy internet from his family land out west. When he traveled with his father to Abidjan in Summer 2023 for business, he reconnected with Narcisse in Yopougon. They hadn't seen each other in 5 years! While in Abidjan he underwent long-overdue reconstructive dental surgery (funded by Michael's amazing in-laws Joan & Chuck!), upgraded Laurent's phone and found a wi-fi router that would hopefully bring stable internet to his remote home in the mountains.

To everyone's delight the wifi device lit up when Laurent returned home in June 2023! Now he joins Zieti's weekly Zoom calls from his rural compound in the mountains and has begun clearing land and making the 2,500 bricks he will need to build Studio Djépao (which mean le bonheur est arrivée or "good times have come" in Gueré). Michael and Alex will be flying to Côte d'Ivoire in February 2024 to deliver the studio gear to get him started. This will be the only facility of its kind in the region, and Laurent says along with Zieti's music his full energy will go toward giving voice to the Guéré culture that is all around him. The possibilities in this rural oasis of sound are truly exciting!

Studio Djepao logo

In July 2023 Michael and Cherif managed another shipment with a 2nd drumkit and assorted gear for an eventual rehearsal & demo recording space in Abidjan. Once the necessary equipment is in place, this will be a sustainable business for Zieti and their families and provide a lifeline for roots musicians in the community, not least facilitating the rebirth of Zieti as a working group in Côte d'Ivoire

Zieti Band in Abidjan flyer

Now that everyone is re-connected, healthy and collaborating online, Zieti is eager to see what sort of music emerges next! In 2023 Narcisse and Michael recorded two new tracks together and in early 2024 the band will gather in Cote d'Ivoire to celebrate 25 years together and launch Studio Djépao. Eventually opening a rehearsal space in Abidjan will help sustain Zieti and build musical community. The synergies are electric.

Zoom faces, 2023

Thank you for your interest in Zieti!

If you'd like to stay connected for videos, photos, stories, songs, poems and more, follow Zieti on social media and sign up for our monthly newsletter.You can also help us grow this unique project by contributing to our GoFundMe.Merci-o!

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YEOUE Glaoulou Narcisse

YEOUE Glaoulou Narcisse is from the town of Bangolo in western Côte d'Ivoire toward the border with Liberia. He is a member of the ethnic group known as either Wé or Guéré. He was raised and went to school in the regional capital of Duékoué, where he was often noted for his singing voice. This was no accident as his family is full of traditional singers and dancers, including a famous uncle who would go from village to village to perform the mask ceremonies so central to Guéré culture.

Eventually leaving school, Narcisse began to pursue music full time with his neighbor, Dr. Blihi Bahé Gaspard, a guitarist and singer who had played with some of the top musicians in the 60s and 70s. Dr. Gaspard introduced Narcisse to Laurent, who was working at a family hotel in town, and they each found a musical kindred spirit. Through a shared passion for song-writing based in their Guéré heritage they fast became like brothers, rehearsing every night and forming a band in Duékoué to participate in radio competitions and other events. Laurent left for Abidjan in 1992 to attend music school, but seeds had been planted.

Zieti Band promo flyer

In 1993 Narcisse went to Abidjan to record an album with Dr. Gaspard (at the studio of legendary singer Mamadou Doumbia), and he reconnected with Laurent. Narcisse stayed in Abidjan after his recording session and they started playing wherever they could, creating several groups and eventually appearing on national television shows like Podium, Chorus and Marlboro Rocking. Through King Shabba, a good friend and leader of the Rasta community in Port-Bouët, Narcisse and Laurent met Americans Alex Owre and Michael Shereikis in 1997. They soon added bass player SEHOUA Aristide, and Zieti was formed.Narcisse has been supporting himself exclusively through music ever since. It has been an epic struggle and sacrifice for him and his family for the last 20 years. But in 2022 things turned around as he moved his family into an apartment in Yopougon-Maroc Antenne where he lives with his wife and three daughters. He plays percussion with a cabaret band on the weekends and runs Zieti's newly launched Studio Yeoue during the week with engineer/keyboardist Jeremie Kouadio, along with weekly Zoom sessions with the band.

TIENDE Djos Laurent

TIENDE Djos Laurent is from western Côte d'Ivoire toward the border with Liberia, and a member of the Wé, or Guéré, ethnic group. He was born in Duékoué to a well established family. Laurent's father is a highly respected, now retired Capitaine de la Douane (Chief Customs Officer), who's integrity and wisdom make him a de facto chef du canton in the region, often consulted or asked to manage disputes. Laurent was expected to take over his father’s affairs and perhaps inherit his mantle, but music had other plans. When he met Narcisse in Duekoue they fast became like brothers, rehearsing every night and forming a band to participate in radio competitions and other events.

Laurent left Duékoué for the capital, Abidjan, in 1992 to study music at INSAAC (Institute National Supèrieur des Arts et de l’Action Culturelle). He soon wrote a letter to Narcisse urging him to come to Abidjan and pursue their music together. Reunited in purpose they played wherever they could, eventually appearing on nationally televised shows like Podium, Chorus and Marlboro Rocking. Through King Shabba, a good friend and leader of the Rasta community in Port-Bouët, Laurent and Narcisse met Americans Alex Owre and Michael Shereikis in 1997. They soon added bass player SEHOUA Aristide and Zieti was formed.Though he did not respect his father’s wishes in the path he chose, Laurent stays very connected to his Guéré heritage and cultural tradition, and draws most of his musical inspiration from what he calls le folklore. Before her passing in 1999, Laurent’s mother was recognized in the region as a visionary. She received the gift of seeing as a young woman, and was held in high regard for this gift throughout her life. Laurent very much lives and writes from the same sort of old-wisdom spiritual perspective as his mother.Laurent survived the political upheaval in Côte d'Ivoire and a near-fatal brushfire accident by keeping his head low while events ebbed and flowed, including hundreds massacred in Duékoué where he had returned to manage family farms. After rejoining Narcisse in Abidjan, Laurent was once again called west in 2018 to help his father manage their family properties. After five years without contact, the band reconnected once again in 2022 and have since established stable internet access to Laurent's compound in the mountainous west from where he now joins Narcisse and Michael on weekly Zoom calls. Laurent began construction on Studio Djépao in December 2023 and the plan is to deliver a compact studio in February 2024 and begin teaching him the set-up and software. Studio Djépao will be the only studio of its kind in the region, and Laurent says along with Zieti's music his main focus will be on giving voice to the Guéré culture that is all around him. The possibilities in this rural oasis of sound are truly exciting!

Michael Shereikis

Michael Shereikis started playing African-style guitar as a Peace Corps volunteer in Central African Republic. With plenty of time on his hands, a walkman and an acoustic guitar, he began his lifelong love affair with African cross-rhythms. Untrained in any classical sense, he has nonetheless learned from recordings of some of the greatest guitar players to ever devastate a fretboard: Diblo Dibala, Sekou Bembeya Diabate, Djelimady Tounkara, Atisso, and on and on.

After Peace Corps, Michael studied anthropology at Tulane University, and spent two years in Côte d'Ivoire researching a dissertation on how market forces shape the artistic vision of aspiring musicians. He and Zieti found each other within a week of landing in Abidjan, and they spent two years making music together and becoming lifelong friends.After leaving Côte d'Ivoire in 1999, Michael settled in the DC area with his wife and baby son, soon welcoming a daughter as well. In the DC suburbs he found an extensive network of worldclass African musicians and soon fell into playing with and producing groups like Elikeh and Cheick Hamala Diabate. in 2005 he co-founded Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band with bassist Robert Fox.Michael eventually abandoned his dissertation and leaned into music and parenting full-time. With the help of Chopteeth trumpetist Justine Miller he built Rootstock Studios in his garage and soon began producing music, video and radio broadcasts for Elikeh, Cheick Hamala Diabate, Chotpteeth, Afropop Worldwide, The Africa Center, Howard University, Takoma Radio, and others. Since February 2022 Michael has been working with Narcisse and Laurent more closely than ever, including weekly Zoom calls to strategize and keep this unique project going and growing.

Alex Owre

Alex Owre began drumming the morning of his eighth birthday when he awoke to some shiny bongos at the foot of his bed. Soon he was accompanying his father’s saxophone on drumset and playing along to records running heavily to jazz and world music. In the early ’90s he studied djembe in Burkina Faso with the drum and dance troop Watinoma.

Alex returned to West Africa in 1997, to Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire with his wife Ellen and his drums. There he met a man named King Shabba, an elder from the rasta community in Port-Bouët near the beach. Shabba introduced Alex to Laurent and Narcisse and there was instant recognition of their talent and unique sound. So they started hanging out and playing music together. Weeks later Michael arrived with his guitar, then Aristide with his bass, and Zieti was born. Alex now lives and drums in Maine with his wife and two grown children.

ZEMELEWA - Studio Musicians

Kouame Augustin (backing vocals) Kouame is also one of the audio engineers at Studio Tambourin.Gobea Roger (backing vocals) is from a well known family in the popular music scene in Abidjan, and is an Abidjan session pro, able to match harmonies in a wide range of voices.Aristide Zogdoule (bass) is a truly gifted bass player from Cameroon, now residing in the DC area and playing with groups like Jabali Africa and Elikeh among others. Ary’s pocket on the bass is simply world-class.Atta Addo (djembes) is from a musical family in Accra (Ghana), and began playing drums at age 7. By the age of 12 he had joined his first working group, and by 17 he was touring in Europe, East Africa and beyond with a series of world-class artists. Atta has played with the likes of Hugh Masakela, Angelique Kidjo, Toots & The Maytals, Orlando Julius Ekemode, Alhadji K. Frimpong and others. Since coming to the US Atta has taught drumming at the University of Colorado in Boulder, played with Selasee & the Fafa Family and toured the country with Los Angeles-based band Solfege. He was principal percussionist for DC's Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band until moving back to Colorado in 2009.Brian Simms (organ, accordion) is one of the top keyboardists and accordion players in the DC area. He is the mastermind behind Baltimore’s renowned New Orleans funk band Junkyard Saints, and has toured and recorded with Rounder recording artists Disappear Fear. Brian performs with many of the DC area’s most notable bands and musicians, including Chopteeth, Billy Coulter, Patty Reese Band, Squeeze Bayou, and 2009 Grammy-nominated group Milkshake. Brian also records and produces in his Treehouse studio, and has put his deft talent on hundreds of tracks. For his musicality and professionalism Brian was voted 2009 Musician of the Year by the Washington Area Music Association. He is a graduate of Towson University’s music program where he has returned in recent years as a full-time teacher.Trevor Specht (saxophones) Trevor combined his interest in technology and music as a computer music student at Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. He has toured with Nigerian icon Orlando Julius and performed in a wide variety of musical styles, from jazz to classical saxophone quartets and wind ensembles to funk/rock party bands. Trevor currently plays with Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band and other projects in the DC-Baltimore area. A few of his musical heroes are Branford Marsalis, Charles Mingus and John Cage.Mark Gilbert, R.I.P (horn solos) was a genius on the saxophones, and a long time denizen of the DC jazz scene, who sadly passed away in 2013. ZEMELEWA was his final studio recording. Mark’s high school rock band played at the original Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, an auspicious beginning to 40 years performing with some of the most respected names in jazz, soul and funk, touring for seven years with Gladys Knight and the Pips, and playing and recording music around the US and Mexico with artists such as The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Dells, Cab Calloway, Don Cherry, Los Flamers, Rootboy Slim, Trouble Funk and many others. Mark performed during three Presidential inaugurations, and played in many local jazz, funk and salsa groups including Windmill Saxophone Quartet, Locura, Chainsaw Jazz and Vector. When he let loose as a member of Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band, his signature, unexpected turns of phrase and devilish, flickering runs would consistently bring audiences to a froth.Mahiri Fadjimba Keita (djembe, krin) has been drumming his entire life. His father is internationally renowned djembefola Mamady Keita who sadly passed away in 2021. Mahiri performed as lead drummer at the age of 8 in Trenton, NJ and participated in his first international tour at 14, performing with the Maimouna Keita School of West African Dance Children’s and Adult Company (NY) at the Sorano Theater in Dakar, Senegal. Mahiri continues to commit his life to studying and teaching Mandingue drumming. In addition to his father, he has worked extensively with master musicians and historians of Mandingue and other West African traditions, including Famoudou Konate (Guinea), Fadouba Oulare (Guinea), and Djimo Kouyate (Senegal, R.I.P.). Mahiri has toured internationally and nationally as a lead drummer with several professional performing companies, including Mamady Keita’s production tour “Sewakan”, Memory of African Culture Performing Company and Wo’se African Dance Theatre. As a graduate of Tam Tam Mandingue (TTM), a school of percussion founded by his father, he is the first appointed instructor in the US. His massive spirit and incredible talent also help animate dance floors as part of DC’s Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band.Jason Walker (congas, ashiko, shekere, krin & triangle) is a multi-disciplined percussionist with over twenty years of training and experience. He began learning congas in the eighties with Kenneth Krohn and is a 1996 graduate (BM, Percussion Performance) from the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, CT. Currently Jason studies Afro-Cuban rhythms with master percussionist Sam Turner and Ashiko with Baba Taiwo Duvall. Jason’s music can be found in a number of settings including: performance, recording, therapeutic intervention, dance accompanist, and group and private instruction. He is currently the drummer with Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band and blues outfit Hard Swimmin Fish, along with several other musical projects in the DC area. Jason also writes a great blog that chronicles the life and concerns of a working musicians.Victor Crisen (guitar) puts the “chop” in Chopteeth, digging into vintage grooves and launching wicked solos for DC's iconic 12-piece Afrofunk machine. Originally from Romania, Victor has been playing guitar since childhood. He studied music at the University of Maryland, where he was privileged to play with the Maryland Jazz Ensemble and work with maestro Chris Vadala. Victor has collaborated with a number of groups, including funk crew Original Jones and alt-rockers The Walk (now Continuous Play). He teaches guitar professionally and has done studio recording work in addition to pursuing acting.John Lee (slide guitar) is a DC-based composer and guitarist who has devoted his life to exploring the art of music. He earned a B.F.A. in Jazz Performance from The New School University, Mannes Jazz and Contemporary Music Program and has studied with Debashish Bhattacharya, Paul Bollenback, Dave Fiuczynski, George Garzone, Jamey Haddad, Johnny Hiland, Wayne Krantz, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and Gary Thomas. Since earning his degree John has toured and performed with prominent figures like Cyro Baptista, Fatoumata Diawara, Hassan Hakmoun, Matisyahu, Christian Scott and Keller Williams, plus rising D.C. stars Kris Funn, Mark Meadows, and Nicole Saphos.As one of D.C.’s most sought after musicians, John can be heard playing guitar on dozens of albums including four of his own: Caveman Before the World, Totem, Somewhere Impossible to Find, and Nature Series. His love for world music and versatility with many styles enables him to travel the world performing in Brazil, Canada, Israel, Equador, Mexico, Portugal, Switzerland, and beyond.Currently, John teaches for MusiCorps, a music rehabilitation program that pairs top-notch professionals in the field with wounded service members to help them recover their lives through musical study at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He is also on the faculty of Towson University's Jazz and Commercial Division. Lee’s philosophy is that “You are your own best teacher.”

Laurent & Narcisse

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Orchestre Ivoiro-Américain

Live music in Abidjan (Samy Succès):ère en live sur la scène de La Télé d'Ici: en live sur la scène de La Télé d'Ici: de la Gendarmerie / c'est ça la télé !:
oLOxxU8Manu Dibango et l'orchestre de la RTI / c'est ça la télé !:
Bella Mundo (all female band foudned in 2007 in Abidjan): Live!
Zieti is a Guéré term that describes something rooted, stable and long-lasting. It is in this spirit that the band Zieti creates music like nothing else on the scene in Côte d'Ivoire. Not a single note on our debut album was generated via MIDI, the computer-based cheap and easy method behind so much of today’s pop music, and that fact alone sets this album apart from most of what’s popular in West Africa today.
However, Zieti’s organic approach runs against the grain of how most music is currently made in Abidjan, where MIDI is king, profit governs and where live music is an endangered species. To be poor in Abidjan, with songs in your head, is to be at the mercy of sharks–producers, arrangers, pirates and media gate-keepers–with no way to go out and win your own audience. It is frustration upon heart-break for the vast majority of Ivorian songwriters and musicians.And there are indeed dozens of wildly talented songwriters and musicians in Abidjan, with songs and arrangements that can blow you away. It’s just that very few of them are making records that blow you away. In fact, most of them never record or perform in public at all. Instruments and live sound equipment are just too expensive and difficult to find for struggling artists to properly hone their craft. There is no question that if they had access to instruments and a place to rehearse and perform, these artistes en herbes (“artists in the tall grass,” or unknowns) would create amazing new genres of sound, and animate the public sphere in Abidjan as it hasn’t been animated for 30 years.But sadly, poor musicians in Abidjan don’t have those things, so they make due playing beat-up acoustic guitars with missing strings, and drumming on plastic water jugs, with whisk brooms for a hi-hat. Horn lines are sung. Amplification, and with it bass, are a fantasy for all but the most well-heeled, etc. And still, poor musicians keep composing beautiful songs, with crazy fresh harmonies and rhythmic dynamism, drawing inspiration from, even as they modernize their cultural traditions.Meanwhile back in America, every punk kid with a few bucks and a garage has a more developed creative opportunity than your average musician in Abidjan. That just isn’t right (nothing against punks!).Creating Space for Roots Music
So Zieti is building a space in Abidjan where musicians can develop their sound and master their instruments, rehearse in groups, perform and record live music, all in one location. It’s a simple notion, but its potential impact is huge for the Ivorian scene.
Thanks to the generosity of a humbling array of friends and family, we’re well on our way to making this happen. For starters, we’ve successfully shipped all the gear necessary to equip a modest rehearsal, recording and performance space, everything from instruments, amps and mics to computer, mixers and PA systems, with more to come. [scroll down for a full list of what’s been shipped]We’ve also acquired land in Côte d'Ivoire, 8,600 square feet (20 x 40 meters) near the beach just outside Abidjan, where we’re going to build a home and incubator for Ivorian roots music. All we need now are building materials and labor to literally set this vision in concrete.What’s the Plan?
Based on our research with local masons we’ll need $10,000 to build a cinderblock wall around the entire property plus rooms for rehearsal and recording. So we’re going to begin an online fundraising campaign very soon to help build this basic foundation. If we push beyond our fundraising goal, we will continue construction with a performance space, dance studio, living quarters and guest rooms for visiting musicians. Either way, we expect to begin producing music and video projects by Fall 2013.
Zieti's Future Home
More info about our campaign will be coming soon. Meanwhile, we invite you to follow the band’s progress with this project by entering your email at right +/or like-ing Zieti’s Facebook page.
Thanks to the generosity of Zieti’s friends, family and fans, the following equipment has been shipped to Laurent and Narcisse as of November 2012:Drums & Accessories: Pearl 5-piece drumkit w/ Zildjan cymbals, Tama throne, 3 spare snare drums, Evans replacement heads, drumsticks & tall cajon.Instruments & Accessories: Fernandez 5-string bass, 2 electric guitars, 2 acoustic guitars, Yamaha PSR-550 keyboard, beaucoup spare strings & instrument cables, multi-effects pedal, guitar stand, trombone w/ case, 2 clarinets w/ case.Microphones & Accessories: Shure SM58 wireless mic/receiver, 3 Shure SM58 vocal mics, 3 Shure PG48 vocal mics, 2 Shure SM57 instrument mics, 1 CAD kick mic/mount, 11 mic stands, beaucoup XLR mic cables.Amplification: Peavey Combo300 bass amp, Peavey 50W bass practice amp, Roland JC-120 guitar amp, Peavey 100W guitar head w/Carvin 4×4 speaker cabinet.PA System: Mackie 1604 mixer w/ case, 16-channel snake, Peavey 1200W power amp, Peavey 1100W power amp, Peavey 450W power amp, Crate 6-channel 200W dual-amp powered mixer, Stereo splitter for power amps, 2 Peavey 600W PA speakers w/ stands, 2 Peavey 150W PA speakers, 3 wedge monitors, 1 spot monitor, beaucoup speaker cables.Power: 3000W step-down voltage transformer, 500W step-down voltage transformer, American-style extension cords & power strips, 9v batteries.Playback: Yamaha stereo receiver, Sony CD player/6 CD changer, desktop stereo unit, 2 pairs of headphones, a booklet of 100+ CDs of worldwide music young and old…Communications: Dell Inspiron 710M laptop w/ extra battery, Kodak Easyshare digital camera, Gigaware web cam w/ mic.Many thanks for your support!

Zieti                 (band name)
Zemelewa      (album title)
Grigri Discs   (label)
1. Zemelewa            [5:08]
2. Zion Do                [4:51]
3. Tindehe                [5:25]
4. Tche                      [5:26]
5. Patriote                [5:06]
6. Politiki                  [4:37]
7. Djemin                  [4:04]
8. Natablehon         [5:07]
9. Bah Bohi              [4:49]
10. SIDA                   [5:14]
11. Mandedi             [4:55]
12. Zre                       [4:58]
Total Running Time:   59:42All songs Copyright 2011 by YEOUE Narcisse & TIENDE Laurent (ASCAP)
All songs Published 2011 by Rootstock Music (ASCAP)
CD Design by David Font-NavaretteStudio Tambourin Port Bouet - Abidjan - Cote d'Ivoire
[Noel Konan & Kouame Augustin, engineers]
YEOUE Narcisse- lead & backing vocals
TIENDE Laurent - guitar & chromatic harmonica
Gobea Roger - backing vocals
Kouame Augustin- backing vocals
Rootstock Studios  Silver Spring, MD
[M. Shereikis, engineer]
Aristide Zogdoule - bass
Atta Addo - djembes
Mahiri Keita - djembes (5,8) & krin (8)
Jason Walker - shekere, triangle, congas, ashiko & krin (2)
Trevor Specht - saxophones
Mark Gilbert - alto flute, alto clarinet & tenor sax (5)
Michael Shereikis - guitar, bass (4, 5), percussion (5, 7, 9)
Victor Crisen - solo guitar (11)
John Lee - slide guitar (12)
Studio EZ Freedom, ME
[Ezra Rugg, engineer]
Alex Owre - drums
The Treehouse Catonsville, MD
[B. Simms, engineer]
Brian Simms - organ, keyboards & accordion
Airshow  Takoma Park, MD
Frank Marchand - mixing
Charlie Pilzer - mastering
"Zieti remercie tous les musiciens et sympatisans qui les ont soutenu dans leur dure epreuve, particulierement Siaba Min Sode, Natasha Sakolsky, Ellen Tipper, Cherif Souleymane et les Fans de Zieti. Merci encore!"