Filed Under:

Zieti: Music As An Act Of Resistance

Play associated audio

From its start in the late '90s, Zieti faced tough odds. Arranging gigs in Abidjan, Ivory Coast was a high-risk, do-it-yourself affair for the band. And that was before the country underwent a military coup, a rigged election and a brush with civil war. Zemelewa was recorded by 15 musicians in four studios on two continents. For all that, you can sense the band's solidarity, as if merely making this record was an act of resistance.

The mix of African tradition and American R&B is nothing new in West African music. But Zieti, a band with both African and American members, comes up with some novel twists, like folksy accordion and bluesy organ swells. On the slow, steamy "Bah Bohi," the band puts a village spin on a '60s soul vibe.

Zieti creates quirky, unpredictable sonic hybrids, with a spirit of experimentation that recalls the exuberant African pop of the '70s. But this is no nostalgia act. The band avoids formulas and writes songs that address contemporary themes — political corruption, the struggle for national unity in Ivory Coast and the ever looming threat of AIDS.

Over a decade in the making, Zemelewa is a solid debut for a band with stamina, grit and the musicality to breathe new life into retro sounds.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit


From A Weirdo Nerd To A Guy Who Plays One On TV

NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with the actor Rainn Wilson about his new memoir, The Bassoon King: My Life in Art, Faith, and Idiocy.

How Long Can Florida's Citrus Industry Survive?

The USDA recently stunned growers when it projected the smallest orange harvest for Florida in more than 50 years. The culprit: A tiny insect that's killing off the state's trees — and industry.

Snapshots 2016: Trump's Message Resonates With A Master Cabinet Maker

From time to time during this election season we'll be introducing you to ordinary people that our reporters meet out on the campaign trail. Today: a snapshot from a Donald Trump rally in New Hampshire.

Someday A Helicopter Drone May Fly Over Mars And Help A Rover

NASA is building a 2-pound helicopter drone that would help guide the vehicle on the Red Planet's surface. That way, the rover wouldn't need to wander as much to find its way around.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.