Hometown: Asheville, NC
Sounds Like: Bombino, Les Garagistes, Oumou Sangare, Amadou & Miriam, Toubab Krewe
The music of Zansa, a Nouchi slang word from Ivory Coast meaning “combination” or “blend,” is a synthesis of traditional and modern styles of West Africa. The Asheville, NC-based ensemble melds African folk music with modern afropop, African drumming, and the dance-oriented Ivorian street music called Zouglou.
Zansa is led by 33rd generation West African musician Adama Dembele, a native of Ivory Coast, who began his music career in the late ’90s by founding drum & dance group Djembeso. He adapted traditional songs and rhythms, eventually molding them into his own style. After moving to Asheville, NC, in 2005, Dembele has continued to develop and expand his sound, now singing in multiple languages - French, Baoule, Bambara, and English.
Today, Zansa is taking those traditional African songs & rhythms and incorporating Western instruments, such as electric guitar, violin, bass, and drum set, offering a wide range of sonic possibilities. The music is rooted in the West African drumming tradition Dembele was born into and blended with modern approach, lending familiarity to foreign sounds. The result is an original take on the authentic music of West Africa.
Zansa will release their debut album Djansa on September 10, 2013
"The powerful rhythms of Asheville Afro-pop band Zansa call irresistibly for movement..." "...Themes of love and wellbeing translate across language barriers."
“<translation> It is a kind of counterpoint that characterizes "Djansa," the title track of the album, where one of the two guitars soars with a percussion virtuosic performance, gradually drawing a rhythmic accompaniment very determined, while the other produces a melodic line, partly improvised, which runs through the entire piece, exploding in a crescendo of notes and intensity...”
Daniel Cestellini - Blogfoolk Magazine (Italy)
"Anyone that enjoys music from the Ivory Coast, danceable, organic music, and an album to brighten your day, Zansa’s Djansa is a panacea for you… West African roots with contemporary limbs growing tall. This is great fusion and a whole lot of fun."
John Powell - Angelica Music
"The all-encompassing nature of their sound fits a band born of mutual cultural appreciation.”
“…infectious and lively tunes…"
Max Miller - Mountain Xpress