For a few years now I’ve been making ‘SLOW TV’ for the local television broadcaster, Salto (salto.nl). These are short, 1 or 2-minute videos of nothing much happening, no narrative, no voiceovers, but something pleasant to watch, set to some ambient music.
With thanks to We Are Ok for the ambient music tracks.
With two EPs under their belt, this Amsterdam afrobeats band is now just about to release their debut full length album and they are throwing a party at the Paradiso to celebrate. On 20 April, concertgoers will no doubt fill out the venue’s Kleine Zaal (small hall) with a whole night of bouncing, jumping, swaying, rocking, twerking and whatever other dance moves the kids do these days. As the respected 3voor12 says: “Standing still is not an option with Zitakula”.
Their music is a mix of afrofunk, soul and more, which takes a hardcore of eight musicians to create, including two sax players (tenor and alto), a trumpet player and lots of percussion. Actually, it seems like pretty much the whole band contributes to the percussion. With influences including Fela Kuti, and Ebo Taylor, but with a sound very much their own, Zitakula bring a confident swagger that belies their young years. Perhaps it’s because they are having so much fun – guitarist Camiel van Zilfhout in particular is great fun to observe on stage. One of their first recorded tracks, Polyrhytmo, has an uplifting riff that you still look forward to even after 100 plays. Sadly, their charismatic lead vocalist Joey Skeete Mcleed had to quit the band in 2016 but they managed a gradual transition to suit the big new voice of Sandy Miessi Bakomi. With her Congolese roots she has fitted right in while adding a bit of a soul booster-jab, as you can see in the music video for Plenty of Fish. [see below]
In just a few years Zitakula has already amassed a loyal following; gaining local fans from energetic gigs at places such as Noorderslag, the Oerol festival on Terschelling island, as well as a TV appearance on De Wereld Draait Door. And they certainly appreciate that loyal following … this year’s debut album has been successfully crowdfunded to the tune of €12,665 (they only asked for €8,000). The realities of an eight-piece independent music act is that there’s not much money to go around but it is testament to their infectious passion that they are making it work. For readers who would appreciate the good vibes of a Zitakula gig – make a date in your diary. But if you can’t make it, the new album will be available as a digital download, CD and vinyl so you can make a party of your own at home.
Zitakula – albumpresentatie
Thursday 20 April
Paradiso – Kleine Zaal, Amsterdam
Tickets: 8.50 (excl membership fee 3.50) zitakula.com