Zieti Zemelewa

Despite years of political turmoil and violence in the Ivory Coast, American/Ivorian Trans-Atlantic band Zieti have crafted a refreshingly organic, roots-rich album. This is good news for fans of Afro-pop, since Zieti are seemingly more concerned with pushing the genre forward rather than hastily recording extended jams of what has already been done before. Two Americans (guitarist Michael Shereikis and drummer Alex Owre) and two Ivorians (lead singer Yeoue Narcisse and guitarist/vocalist Tiende Laurent) prove that even during times of extended struggle, cross-cultural musical collaboration can produce skilful, insistent songs. From the uplifting vocals, dancing percussion and swirling guitars of "Zemelewa" to the lush vocal harmonies intermixed with beautiful harmonica and guitar playing on "Tche," one thing is certain: Zieti's refreshing and passionate take on Ivorian tradition and the current state of Afro-pop possesses an unmistakably vintage vibe. This is highly recommended for listeners in search of songs that will make your body want to move and lift your spirits. Although only a few of the tracks on Zemelewa stand out, this is by no means a bad thing. Zieti are a band that possess a unique sound, and Zemelewa is a thoroughly captivating release that will satisfy an increasingly knowledgeable Afrobeat fan base. (Grigri Discs)