Mary Dolen aka Zap Mama: ‘Looking at the other I know who I am’

Adamo, Adele, and Kamassi Washington gave praise to Mary Dolen, aka Zap Mama. Although it lives in the shadows, it has not yet lost its international appeal. new album Epic She should pave the way for a record in which she blends her groundbreaking “Afro” voice more with the new generation.

Twelve years ago, 57-year-old Mary Dolen purposely swapped out the fast-paced interstellar life in New York for a quieter one, with more time for her son and daughter, who are also now making music. As a result, she is now racing almost incognito on a Trotnett on the streets of Saint-Gilles. That was an editor. “After releasing my previous album, in 2010 I decided to go back to Belgium. Since then I have been doing everything modified (Laugh) I went back to normal Belgian life in Brussels. It cost me money, but I don’t regret it. Only, now that I’ve found a good balance, I want to combine the two again: to be an artist and to take the time.”

The pandemic helped her make that choice. Suddenly there was more time, and also for things I had never imagined before. When an idea came up, I implemented it.” As a result, there are now nearly two albums ready: one with French-language material to be released this week and one with English-language works that she had begun recording in pre-pandemic Los Angeles with, among others ( jazz band) Kamasi Washington, which will be released in 2023.

on me Epic You hear cut rhythms between the fast, frantic life of a lifeless working woman and the slower of a living mother. “I have been running from place to place continuously for thirty years. (Talk starts faster) ‘The new album has to be out! We will do a promotion now! Quick, there is another picture! We must not miss this one, because there is an important concert coming up! “But when I left that life behind me, I thought, oddly, that things were not going fast enough in Belgium. I had so much energy.” (Laugh)

multiple mentality
Topics on Epic At this time – that everything has to accelerate under the pressure of today’s technology – and at all times – the possibility of love (im). Tracks like La 5G, Prends le temps, and Occupé counteract the current tension with the Afro-European sound initiated and shaped by Marie Dolen from the vanguard of the Congolese diaspora.

Among the a cappella choirs of breakout hit “Brrrlak!” Occupy’s infectious rumba cake is thirty years old, but the singer, the daughter of a Congolese mother and Belgian father (she didn’t survive the first year of her life due to the war in Congo), is clearly proud of what she’s done with her “Afropese” quest. “This multiple mindset made hearts and minds grow. I’m convinced of that. I also embraced New York’s diverse community. When I bought my apartment in Saint-Gilles in 2010, it was still a neighborhood mostly of Moroccan and some Congolese and Hispanic descent. Now too mixed, with many Brazilians and Chinese as well. On the street I hear English, German, Greek, Polish… I have found my place more than ever.”

© Mayli Sterkendries

| Afro-major Mary Dolen: “Falling into a box has never been in keeping with my artistic mind.”

In fact, it reflects the community I already defined in 1999 Ma . area. “I still see myself painting Touaregs in the metro. It was clear to me that all of these cultures would eventually merge, because I’ve always lived this way. At first it was all very divided, but in the US we were all immigrants, and now we’re in Brussels too.” I have always considered my job as an artist to reassure people who fear change. In Saint-Gilles too, new worlds are constantly creeping in that are not mine. But what solves to resist reality? Through my music, I try to restore the balance between two worlds, my own and the world from the outside, which might seem A little threatening at first, but it will enrich you if you are open to it.”

In Dolen’s hands, the Homer legend is no longer about the adventures of Odysseus, but about the adventures of Penelope. “In her place, I would have loved my husband just as much, but I was not sitting at home waiting. I would have gone on a darn adventure too, because by looking at the other I know who I am.”

voice in the head
There’s a nice Adamo cover on it Epic. An ode to his mother became an ode to Dolan’s mother, who died in 2014, and to all women. Brother Jean-Louis co-wrote, and his son Zeke also appeared on “Ami,” a collaboration with Simone Liscent, Stromae musician and son of Danny Klein. “Zekye is the reason why he didn’t become a purely French record, because he grew up in Dutch and sings and raps in English.” Not only her descendants are following in her footsteps. She herself is daughter Kezia alias K.ZIA, who released her debut album this spring, followed by PR agency Five Oh, which is at the heart of Brussels’ diverse music scene. “Here I am among a new generation of artists who want to move forward and also have a lot of energy.” It was a surprise that Adele mentioned her on the BBC as an example, but she got it.

“I’ve never known my destination, but leadership has always been there, even after my pioneering work. That little voice in the head, which so many people turn off after a while, keeps whispering to me to choose my own path. My mother never played the role I was supposed to You play it. I can choose my role and I still do it. Falling into a box has never been compatible with my artistic mind.”

Daulne still wanted to write books, make healing music and even go on tour, if possible in a comfortable tour bus. You will soon have the recordings made with Kamassi Washington and her colleagues in Los Angeles on the hands of a new generation of sound processors. She played with a saxophonist before his international breakthrough. “He asked me if he could participate. Thank you for opening the door to a new world… or not, to the old world that was deep within.”

Epic Appears on 14/10 via Altafonte

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