10.18.12Falebration 2012 Fela's birthday show review
04.15.12Zozo Afrobeat at Highline Ballroom
04.29.10Zozo Video "Mugabe" Covered on "The Afrobeat Blog"
Nice piece on Zozo Afrobeat's video "Mugabe" on "The Afrobeat Blog" by Mark Amigone. Our favorite part: "Having seen Zozo several times, I can vouch for their ability to make people dance." "The Afrobeat Blog" is a great site for keeping up with the latest in African music -- check it out, show your love.
04.18.10Zozo Afrobeat Releases Video “Mugabe,” Asking Zimbabwe’s President to Resign
New York Afrobeat Band Stirs Up Controversy on 30th Anniversary of Zimbabwe’s Independence
NEW YORK, April 18, 2010 – Zozo Afrobeat, a 13-piece Afrobeat band based in NYC, is releasing a new video for a song, “Mugabe,” calling on President Mugabe to step down from power. In the song, Kaleta, the songwriter and leader of Zozo Afrobeat, doesn’t hold back any punches, calling Mugabe a “killer” and an “African Hitler.”
Kaleta is no stranger to controversy – as a former guitarist in Fela Kuti’s band, he watched as Fela criticized the corrupt Nigerian government and suffered imprisonment and brutality as a result. “Politics is essential to Afrobeat music,” says Kaleta. “We speak truth to power. Without politics, it isn’t really Afrobeat music.” These days, Fela’s story is famous, his name gracing a hit Broadway musical. But for Kaleta, the struggle for justice continues.
It was 30 years ago today that Zimbabwe achieved independence from white minority rule. The man who took over was Robert Mugabe. Though heralded at the time, Mugabe later showed his true colors – seizing land from thousands of farmers, sowing racial divisions, and bringing Zimbabwe to economic ruin. Mugabe has been condemned by organizations like Amnesty International for numerous human rights violations. Those in Zimbabwe who speak out against Mugabe are imprisoned, targeted by violence, or simply made to disappear.
Zozo Afrobeat’s controversial new video can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1nC_-sT7AE (or search YouTube for Zozo Mugabe). The video was directed by Hasan Mclendon in association with HJ Films. For additional information about this story, contact Dave Ahl or visit http://www.zozoafrobeat.com
About Zozo Afrobeat:
“Zozo,” taken from the Goun and Fon word for “something hot,” truly keeps the Afrobeat fires burning. A 13-piece ensemble from New York City, Zozo Afrobeat features musicians from around the world and is led by former Fela Kuti guitarist Kaleta.
Dave Ahl, band director
10.13.09"Rough Guide to Afrobeat Revolution" released Oct 13th worldwide
This 2-disc compilation, which features Zozo Afrobeat's "Country of Guns" in its entirety, will see a worldwide release on October 13th. The album can be purchased at Amazon, iTunes, Target, Walmart, and other locations around the world.
Excerpts of an early review of the album by Dusty Groove are below --
"A bit more than a Rough Guide, if you ask us -- actually a great little set that capable shows the range of Afrobeat and and funk in a new generation...
Comes with a stunner of a bonus disc, the full Country Of Guns album by Kaleta & Zozo Afrobeat -- a searing set of Afrobeat that really burns with a lot of energy! There's a complexity here that goes beyond most other contemporary Afro Funk ensembles -- one that takes especial joy in the solo parts, which are really well-crafted, and have an almost jazz-like sophistication at times -- especially on the reed parts. But the complexity never gets in the way of the rhythms, either -- as these are right on the money, and a great balance between African roots and funkier elements. Titles include "Get Up", "Baba Nla Iya", "Shake Your Nyansh", "Fimile", "Country Of Guns" and more."
09.15.09Zozo Afrobeat "Mugabe" video in the studio
Check out an exclusive video sneak peak at Zozo Afrobeat in the studio recording "Mugabe." I hope we don't ever have to perform in Zimbabwe :)
09.13.09"Rough Guide to Afrobeat Revolution" to feature Zozo
Zozo Afrobeat’s album “Country of Guns” is going to be reissued on October 13th on “Rough Guide to Afrobeat Revolution.” In association with UK-based record label World Music Network, Rough Guide has released over 240 recorded anthologies of music of various nations and regions.
"It's an honor and a privilege to have been selected for this prestigious release," said Zozo band leader Kaleta. "This release will let us reach new audiences: already I am getting emails from fans around the world"
The album is a two disc set – the first disc is a compilation, the second is the full Zozo Afrobeat album "Country of Guns."
"Rough Guide to Afrobeat Revolution" will be available on ITunes, Target, Walmart, Amazon, etc and sources around the world.
09.01.09A message to our fans
Hi all. Perhaps you are wondering "Where is Zozo?" This is not a bad question -- we've gone from playing once or twice a week to very selective appearances. This is both due to the large size of the band (13 people or more!) and the financial restraints that go along with having such a large group. Also, we've found it very tough to move forward as a group if we are constantly rehearsing for the next gig. So we've been keeping busy learning and working out new material -- we rehearse every week, we have been in the studio recording new songs. It's given the band some time to breathe, to come together, and to really master the intricacies of this music. It was a hard decision to make but I believe it was the right one. When we emerge, you'll hear the old favorites from "Country of Guns" but also new material that takes the Zozo sound in another direction.
08.31.09Zozo Afrobeat wins "Just Plain Folks" album award
Zozo Afrobeat was announced as an winner for the "Just Plain Folks Music Award" in the African Album category.
Billed as "the world's largest music awards," Just Plain Folks has volunteers screen over 42,000 albums and 560,000 songs, nominates the best in various categories, and then selects the top four in each category as winners. Zozo Afrobeat received a third place award in its category.
The Just Plain Folks Music Awards were started in 1999 as a simple way to recognize the best music submitted by members. JPF Founder Brian Austin Whitney felt the music made by the "other 98%" of the music world often ignored by the mainstream televised music awards shows deserved its own recognition. The judging criteria is based around one basic concept: Does the music move you? This one encompassing criteria has since been adopted across much of the mainstream music industry to measure the very best quality of the best music being made today. Once again, we start our quest to find the music that moves us most and recognize it with admiration, fairness and dignity.
07.01.09Zozo Afrobeat to play NJPAC in Newark NJ, July 9th
Zozo Afrobeat is headlining the prestigious “Sounds of the City” music festival in Newark NJ. This event is free, open to the public, and runs from 5PM-10PM on Thursday, July 9th at the NJPAC in Newark, NJ. Expect Zozo Afrobeat to deliver a fiery set from 9 till 10PM.
04.01.09Zozo to play Literary Arts Festival at City Tech in Brooklyn
Acclaimed novelist Colson Whitehead will read from his work at New York City College of Technology’s (City Tech) Annual Literary Arts Festival. Whitehead’s reading at the College, scheduled for 5 p.m., comes on the heels of the publication of his fourth novel, Sag Harbor.
The evening will include a performance by Brooklyn band Kaleta + Zozo Afrobeat (www.zozoafrobeat.com) that is guaranteed to make you toss your signed copy of Sag Harbor into the air with reckless abandon.
The event will be held in the College’s 900-seat Klitgord Center Auditorium, 285 Jay Street (at Tillary), Downtown Brooklyn, on Thursday, April 30, 2009, beginning at 5:00 p.m. Admission is free and the festival is open to the public.
12.07.08"Country of Guns" video up on Youtube
Kaleta and Benon put together a video for Zozo Afrobeat's song "Country of Guns." It's a very cool piece that really captures what the song is about. There's a number of photos of the band playing Central Park, moments in the studio, and other images that deal with the issue of guns in America.
10.07.08Greg Inverso, Zozo Afrobeat Drummer, Dead at 30
It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Greg Inverso, the drummer of Zozo Afrobeat. Greg was a remarkable drummer and a beautiful human being – his spirit uplifted those around him. He played dozens of concerts with Zozo from June to October 2008 including Zozo Afrobeat’s concert at Central Park Summerstage on June 28, 2008. Our hearts go out to his family and his loved ones – we are still in shock over his abrupt departure from our lives.
10.02.08Zozo to play Jump N’ Funk for Fela Kuti Birthday Party
On Thursday, October 16th, Rich Medina, the DJ/Producer extraordinaire, returns to SOB's to revive one of the most legendary and beloved dance functions of the decade, Jump N' Funk. Rich Medina will man the turntables and the Zozo Afrobeat Band takes the stage in celebration of the legendary Fela Kuti's birthday.
As the United State’s very first and most consistent DJ/Club event dedicated to the timeless music and social contributions of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Jump N' Funk became a staple of New York City nightlife from 2001-2007, but eventually disbanded when Rich Medina's partners went on to pursue other endeavors, one of which was "The Fela Project", an art exhibit at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York.
More than a year after dissolution of Jump N' Funk, Rich Medina, one of the main progenitors of Afro House and global dance, returns to SOB's to bring the party back to life.
Joining Rich Medina in the celebration is the Zozo Afrobeat Band, a group that honors Fela's legacy and truly keeps the Afrobeat fires burning. A 13-piece ensemble from New York City, Zozo Afrobeat features musicians from around the world and is led by African music luminary Kaleta. Born in the Republic of Benin and raised in Nigeria, Kaleta grew up recording and performing with legendary Nigerian musicians Fela Kuti, Femi Kuti and King Sunny Ade, and Shina Peters.
S.O.B.'s, 204 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014
Thursday October 16th at 10pm
Ticket Information: $10; available at Ticketweb & SOB's Box Office
10.01.08Zozo Afrobeat on "We Love Afrobeat" Compilation
Zozo Afrobeat's cut "Baba Nla Iya" has made it onto a hot compilation called "We Love Afrobeat." This collection of afrobeat music features artists to watch for on the burgeoning African scene: Nomo, Saracah Soul, and of course Kaleta and Zozo Afrobeat. Cuts have already been spun on PRI's "the World" (NPR) and by DJs around the world. The album will be released worldwide by Planet Woo / Comet records on October 20, 2008. It will be available on iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, eMusic, Yahoo, and Dusty Groove.
07.31.08Zozo Afrobeat – Summerstage Wrap-up, Review & Photos
We had a blast at Summerstage – thanks so much for everyone who came out to support us! When it started to rain during our performance we suspected the party would be over. Instead, everyone started to dance in the downpour. It was a magical moment. We got a very nice review of the concert, complete with photos, courtesy of Afropop Worldwide. “The music started with a rousing performance from the local Zozo Afrobeat, whose energy matched their magnitude as the multi-member ensemble kept the audience dancing.” Click on the link below for the full round-up. More photos from the show can also be found in the “photos” section of the website.
06.02.08Zozo to play Central Park Summerstage on July 28, 2008
Zozo Afrobeat is honored to announce it will be performing at the prestigious Central Park Summerstage Concert series. “The opportunity for us to perform for thousands at Central Park is both exciting and incredibly humbling” said Dave Ahl, Music Director of Zozo Afrobeat. Other bands performing that evening include Fallou Dieng and interestingly enough, Vieux Farka Toure, an artist whose eponymous debut was produced by Ahl. The entire concert will take place Saturday, July 28, 2008 from 3-7 PM.