Mark your calendars!

We’ll be dancing the night away March 8th at Bossa Bistro to celebrate the official release of Zemelewa.

Live music downstairs with Ary Zogdoule and his Cameroonian all-star crew, Cheick Hamala Diabate, members of Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band & special guests. Original Zieti members Michael and Alex will be on hand, and with a little techno-wizardry, Narcisse and Laurent will make a virtual appearance for a song or three…

But wait, there’s more!

In the upstairs lounge, DJ Guilherme will be spinning dance tracks from his deep African vinyl collection all night. That’s two floors of righteous afrofunk, brought to you by Grigri Discs. Only $5!

Click here for details.


Abidjan Practice Space!

Finally Narcisse was able to send some pictures of our first shipment of musical gear, now installed in Zeiti’s new practice space in Abidjan. Doesn’t look too glamorous, but then who needs glamorous?

This space is Zieti’s temporary home for rehearsals, and for renting to other bands for same. Our next shipment is due to arrive in March, and will allow Narcisse to start looking for a suitable location and space for a live music venue.

A third shipment is scheduled for late Spring 2012, and will include equipment to really amp up the sound system.

Abidjan Bound!

Another huge day for Zieti! Cherif and his good friend Shaka (pictured at left) came over today with Shaka’s van to collect our next installment in this Abidjan Live! project. They took almost half of what we have to send, and will have it on a fast boat to Abidjan in the next few days. This container ship takes only 28 days to cross, so Narcisse should have everything in hand by mid-late March.

Included in this shipment is a laptop, webcam and digital camera, to better document things in Abidjan and hugely increase the ease and quality of communications across the pond. Skype is already loaded, along with a massive trove of funky music from Africa and all over the globe.

Beyond those elements, we focused this shipment on infrastructure for a small club. 16-channel mixer & snake, power amp, speakers, mics, mic stands, cables, keyboard and voltage converters will all make this trip.

Cherif has another container shipping out this Spring, and continues to offer us free space and invaluable help negotiating customs, without which this almost certainly couldn’t happen. Our next installment will include bass and guitar amps, guitars, trombone, stereo components, monitors, spare drums, bigger power amp and speakers to match, all boxed and labeled and just awaiting the tides.

That would pretty much cover everything Zieti needs to equip a boomin’ live music spot in Abidjan. Narcisse is ready, excited and more than able to make this work. Laurent is still reportedly making his way to the city, and will hopefully rejoin Narcisse soon.

To those of you who have donated gear or money, or bought an advanced copy of Zieti’s debut CD, thank you! thank you! You are what makes this possible.

We’ll keep the updates coming, along with details of Zieti’s CD Release Party March 8th in DC…stay tuned…

Early Reviews

Here’s what they’re saying in the press about Zemelewa:

“Wild stuff for wide open ears that need a careening ride through some new,  exciting back alleys.”Midwest Record
“From a small stumbling start a grand opus has emerged. The full sound is rich,  the songs go from lovelorn ballads to out and out jamdowns. The musical rapport  is intact, across an ocean.”Muzikifan

DC Musicians Strike Again!

We’re packing and cataloging and getting all this lovely old musical gear ready to pile into the nooks and crannies of Cherif’s container next week. The last few donations from DC’s amazing musical community have now come in, and they were critical!

Andrew Roberts with HMT: Sounds Reasonable met us on the street oustide a Persian wedding he was working in DC to offer up a mess of mic stands and a rackmount EQ to sweeten the sound overseas. Nice!

Art Isaacs, one of the top sound engineers in the business (e.g, ran sound for Obama’s ’09 inauguration) and a great, calm, positive spirit, offered up an amazing Mackie 16-channel mixer w/ case! Unbelievable, and precisely the center-piece needed to make all this work.

Scott Aronson of Elikeh kicked in with a sweet little Peavey bass amp that will be perfect for small rehearsals and just practicing alone. Bass players in Abidjan almost never have the luxury of practicing while actually plugged in to anything. This will make someone very happy, and a much better bass player. Sweet!

Cheryl Terwilliger from Chopteeth and Director of the Music Program at a local private school, brought over a Yamaha PSR-550, which is pretty much the precise keyboard the guys were hoping for in Abidjan. We’ll make the case forcefully for it to not be used to play synth horn lines, but that’s a strong headwind over there I’m afraid.

From monetary donations and Grigri Discs funds we were also able to pack up a laptop and digital camera, along with some heavy duty voltage converters and extension cords so we don’t fry anything in its new 220 volt home.

We can’t tell you how grateful we are for everyone’s generosity of spirit! This has been an incredible last few weeks, and we will do our utmost to make sure everything gets to Abidjan, and is put to maximum good use for the Zieti community.

Updates on the shipping as events unfold, as well as news on an album release party in DC for “Zemelewa” in early March. Stay tuned…

NPR likes Zieti!

What a thrill to hear a bit of Zieti played between segments on today’s Morning Edition on NPR! A few bars of “Zion Do” hit the airwaves immediately following a Lourdes Garcia-Navarro report on Egypt’s military government crackdown on revolutionaries. A sad tale alas…

Immediately following Zieti, NPR then played a snippet of “Snake Eyes” from DC afrofunksters and Zieti collaborators Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band. That’s a nice little two-fer for our indie label Grigri Discs.

Many thanks to Morning Edition, and here’s hoping for more exposure coming soon as we ramp up to Zieti’s March 6th official release!

More Music from the Heart of DC

This is just getting more interesting and fun and exciting and crazy day-by-day. More gear donations from Washington DC’s musical community have been coming in as we piece together a live sound system and backline for the Zieti family in Abidjan.

Sam “Seguito” Turner (Rumba Club, and a litany of jazz and latin legends) offered 3 high quality microphones in a carrying case w/ cables and stand, plus a Gretsch shell-pack with snare that is going to be the most unique drumkit in the city once the ferriers and modern-day blacksmiths of Abidjan’s metal markets work their magic on it.

Mark Gilbert (Chopteeth) unearthed from his wild and woolly basement a killer Yahama stereo-receiver and Sony 5 CD player, along with a second desk stereo unit. Victor Crisen (Chopteeth) added another desktop stereo with speakers, in addition to donating gear for the last shipment and a little cash as well. Feeling the love from the Chopteeth family for sure!

This got me thinking that the Zieti guys are going to need some CDs to play on these stereos, so I’ve begun burning discs of all kinds of different music, none of which is readily available on the Ivoirian market (old African re-issues & funky sounds from all over the globe). If nothing else, our Abidjan joint will have the most unique jukebox in town!

And then, just when it didn’t sound like things could get cooler, Craig Considine (Chopteeth/Rumba Club/All Mighty Senators/Boister/etc.) brought a beautiful trombone to the Zieti party! The case alone is excellent, and I can say with some certainty that the horn it contains will be one of the nicest trombones in the city. That makes the Zieti horn section clarinet and trombone so far. Perfect.

Many thanks to everyone who has donated gear. With the few bits and pieces that have been offered but not yet picked-up, plus a little pawn-shopping to round things out, we are all set and ready to make excellent things happen for roots musicians in Abidjan. Roots to roots…always the best route!