Author Archives: les gars

About les gars

Alex Owre & Michael Shereikis, drummer and guitarist for Zieti

DC Local Music Day!

We’re psyched to be a featured artist for DC Local Music Day this Wednesday (April 11). This is a really cool idea brought to us all by the good people at Listen Local First DC, and we’re hoping it will spread to cities all around the globe.

Here’s how it works: Listen Local First DC has partnered with dozens of locally owned businesses to commit to a playlist of featured LOCAL artists for one day a month. That means as you’re meeting friends at Busboys & Poets, or winding down the evening for a late-night plate at The Diner this Wednesday (or hanging out at many other fine DC establishments), you’ll also be enjoying music created by artists based right here in the DC-area.

It raises awareness about the local music scene and even pays a modest royalty to the artists for broadcast rights. But most of all, it’s a partnership local-to-local. Personally, I’m looking forward to discovering some cool new places to eat this Wednesday, and I hope folks are digging the sounds as they do the same. For a list of participating establishments, please click here.

As anyone who lives here knows, Washington DC is incredibly, even uniquely rich in cultures for a city this size, and the music scene reflects that diversity. So let’s come together across genres and represent! That’s what Listen Local First DC is all about, and my hat is off to them for their efforts.

See you out and about this Wednesday…

The Signal

Many thanks to Aaron Henkin of WYPR’s “The Signal” for an absolutely lovely  17-minute segment about Zieti’s origins, music and future, which was broadcast last week to listeners in Baltimore and across the great state of Maryland.

Click here to listen to the full interview.

Zemelewa reviewed on NPR!

We are overjoyed and incredibly honored that Afropop Worldwide Senior Editor Banning Eyre reviewed Zemelewa on NPR’s All Things Considered today, under the title “Zieti: Music As An Act of Resistance.” This is Zieti’s second feature on All Things Considered over the last 10 days, after our interview with Guy Raz on March 10.

It was an absolute joy to hear Eyre’s keen insights interspersed with choice clips from album tracks Zion Do, Zemelewa, Bah Bohi & SIDA. We intend to make the review’s final line stick as well: “Zemelewa is a solid debut for a band with stamina, grit and the musicality to breathe new life into retro sounds.”

Click here for the full review.

This sort of reception for a debut album by musicians that live thousands of miles apart is a testament to the incredible talent of everyone involved in making this record. It also gives us even more energy to pursue Zieti’s project of promoting live, roots music in Abidjan, and of course to record Zieti’s second album…


The Zieti story grows…

All Things Considered!

This has been an amazing week for Zieti, capped off by a 10 minute feature on NPR’s All Things Considered yesterday. Alex and Michael sat down for a long chat with host Guy Raz, and then they asked us back for a phone interview with Narcisse in Abidjan. The piece they produced from all our ramblings is just beautiful. We can’t say enough about the talent, spirit and passion of everyone at NPR. This country would simply not be complete without the work they do.

[Click here to listen to Zieti on NPR’s All Things Considered]

And we have more thanks to give, to all the players from Chopteeth, to Cheick Hamala Diabate and especially to Ary Zogdoule, Fifi, Kobo and Narcisse for making the CD release party such a smashing success on Thursday. I hope to see that scene repeated every Thursday at Bossa Bistro.

African music in DC is dans le mouvement quoi!

Washington Post!

“An ageless hybrid with no stylistic borders.” 

So says reviewer Bill Friskics-Warren in today’s Washington Post about Zemelewa.

He goes on to cite no fewer than 13 different genres of music in describing Zieti’s sound, including afrobeat, highlife, Congolese rumba, juju, Tex-mex, cajun, latin, funk, jazz, blues, rock, New Orleans R&B and jazz-rock fusion. (What? He didn’t mention the Tuvan monk influence!)

Narcisse’s vocals earn him comparisons with Van Morrison and Tabu Ley Rochereau, which is rarified air indeed. And guitarist Victor Crisen has got to be happy with his soloing on Mandedi being called “Santana-like.”

Friskics-Warren concludes: “However unfamiliar their words may be to English-speaking listeners, the urgency in Narcisse’s raspy tenor and in the vocal call-and-response on the album speaks volumes. And it’s not just the voices, but also the haunting beauty of the record’s melodies and the pointed interplay of the players’ crisscrossing rhythms.”

[Click to read the full review]

World Music Central

Zemelewa continues to receive critical acclaim from some of the most respected sources for world music news and reviews.

Today on World Music Central, reviewer Tom Orr describes Zemelewa as a “…superb, spirited selection of Afropop beginning with the Francophone zest of the title track and continuing through dance-inducing jams, acoustic asides, heartfelt topical tunes and bold fusions, all so seamlessly played and sung you’d never guess they were assembled from tracks recorded in two hemispheres.”

His ultimate assessment: “Zemelewa is one of the best collaborative efforts of its type and an early contender for one of 2012’s best.”

Congrats to Narcisse, Laurent and the whole Zieti family for creating something special.

More Kind Words

Any world music friends of yours are world music friends of ours!

Many thanks to the good folks at for such a lovely, thoughtful review of Zemelewa:

“Rooted in the kaleidoscope colors of the Afropop sound, Zemelewa dips into West African funk, Congolese rumba and 1970s Afrofunk to brighten its sound. The result is fabulously fresh and deliciously addictive.”

Zemelewa is simply stunning and we hope that the next offering from Zieti comes with a lot less struggle.”

Amen to that!  

[Click to read the full review]