(Ann Arbor Summer Festival, Ann Arbor, MI - June 23rd, 2009)
Marie Daulne, the founder and fronting member of Zap Mama since the early 1990s, has lived a life that rivals Homer's Odyssey. Filled with peril and triumph, globe-spanning quests, and a series of personal achievements that seem almost heroic in scope, her story is one of epic proportions in the annals of world music.
She stands with one foot firmly planted in tradition and the other in the progressive sounds and sensibilities of a new century, and she consistently merges the two with an effortless grace that never fails to mesmerize.
With a simple black stage setting, but for four oversized balloons sitting center stage - blue, green, yellow, and orange - Marie came on stage in a multicolor duster with large polka dots that matched the balloons. On her head, she wore a hat which held an actual vinyl album!
Her band consisted of two back-up singers, each wearing a large summer hat, whose brim swept their faces, and matching scarf. There was also a bass player, drummer, a keyboard/lead guitar, and to my pleasant surprise, a trumpet/flugelhorn player. It was nice to have live trumpet hits and stabs, instead of sounds from the keyboardist.
By the second song, fans had moved up front and started dancing to the sounds of Zap Mama. The audience was one of the most eclectic of any concert I’ve attended: From toddlers to senior citizens, to including all races, with business professionals to earthy peacekeepers. It was truly One World, One Love inside the Power Center Tuesday night.
Including songs from the new release, 'ReCreation,' and known favorites such as “Show Me The Way”, Zap Mama, kept the spirit alive and the audience mesmerized. Incorporating the call and response with the audience, the Power Center was turned into a huge choir.
After she thanked the audience for being there with her classic, “Merci Beau Coup”, the band left the stage to huge applause, leaving the crowd wanting more.
They returned and opened the encore with the popular “Bandy Bandy”, which was more exciting to see and hear performed live than on video or record. After giving the audience several more songs, she once again thanked the audience for attending and left us all feeling fully "zapped."
Review by: Jim Esnault