Zap Mama was originally an all-female a cappella quintet founded by Marie Daulne, a Belgian artist with roots in Zaire/Democratic Republic of Congo. Since the release of 7 in 2002, Daulne's Zap Mama project has evolved into a 7 person band with two backup singers, keyboards, bass, drums and percussion/decks. The music is jazz, RnB, cabaret and beatboxing all at once!
Daulne's cross-genre style might be the product of an interesting and varied past: Her father, a white Belgian, was killed during the revolution of 1960 while her mother was pregnant with her. The remainder of the family fled to the forests and found refuge with a tribe of pygmies. Daulne was raised primarily in Europe, but when she heard a recording of traditional pygmy music at age 20, she decided to return to Africa to learn about her heritage. She was trained in pygmy onomatopoeic vocal techniques before returning to Europe to found Zap Mama.
Zap Mama is a Belgian musical group founded and led by Marie Daulne. Daulne says her mission is to be a bridge between the European and the African and bring the two cultures together with her music. "What I would like to do is bring sounds from Africa and bring it to the Western world, because I know that through sound and through beats, that people discover a new culture, a new people, a new world." Zap Mama specializes in polyphonic, harmonic music with a mixture of heavily infused African instruments, R&B, and Hip-hop and emphasizes voice in all their music. "The voice is an instrument itself," says Daulne. "It's the original instrument. The primary instrument. The most soulful instrument, the human voice." They sing in French and English with deep African roots.