Female-fronted Funk Latin Afro-beat band. Original dance music simmering in a palate of serious Latin, African and Caribbean rhythms.
Taking its name from a luscious fruit in Cuba also known as "mamey", "ZapOte" is an original Funk Latin Afro-Beat band lead by Dawn Drake, New York's female bassist/conguera/singer/songwriter and composer, who manages to wear several hats while setting the scene with her own brand of cool.
Her original music takes the listener and dancer into a zone where House, Funk, Afro-beat, Samba, and Afro-Cuban rhythms are right at home. Her poetic lyrics spread messages of universal consciousness, love and are delivered with an occasional ironic twist. She is joined by amazing musicians playing the irresistible grooves of Latin percussion, swinging hornlines and virtuosic improvisation.
Arei Sekiguchi: drums
Cathy Harley: Keyboard
Sam Fenster: Guitar
Terry Dame: Saxophone
Jackie Coleman: Trumpet
Dawn Drake: Bass, vocals, percussion
This band has gone far and wide for the short period of time that it has been together. Formed in 2005 to record the original songs of Dawn Drake, the band shortly thereafter started to play venues in and around New York City, including the prestigious Brooklyn Academy of Music Cafe Live series, as well as Women's Week at Medgar Evers College, a residency on NYC's legendary Bleecker Street at Wicked Willy's, and DROM, Manhattan's Best World Music venue. Currently, they play funky SOHO's L'Orange Bleue Monday Night DRUMS series several times a month.(www.lorangebleue.com)
An active musician in New York City's African, Brazilian and Latin music scene, Dawn Drake started her career as an electric bassplayer and percussionist, but now she is known first and foremost as a singer-songwriter, composer and bandleader. Originally from Virginia, Dawn first began traveling and studying world music through UC Berkeley's study abroad program at the University of Ghana, West Africa where she lived for a year. Upon moving to New York City, she started to play bass and percussion with groups which have included Obini Ashe; The Femm Nameless, who opened for The Roots and who toured England; Jojo Kuo, former drummer for Fela Kuti; Páprika who has opened for Patti LaBelle and Toshi Reagon, and Manmzel, who toured Canada and the east coast, with a hit single in the French Caribbean.
Dawn studied and played congas and batá in Cuba, and samba percussion in Brazil, where she played in Rio de Janiero's Carnaval. She has shared the stage with Me'shell N'degeocello, Cyro Baptista, Trey Anastasio, Mo'Guajiro, Los Jovenes del Barrio, Kokolo, Jorge Alabê and members of Antibalas.
She has appeared on The CBS Early Show, and Telemundo TV, PBS, WBAI, and played stages such as Symphony Space, SOB's, The Zinc Bar, Rockefeller Center's Rainbow Room, Radio City Music Hall, BAM CAFE, The Walker Art Center, Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, the New Orleans Jazz Festival.
"Dawn Drake & ZapOte" have performed live on WBAI, KPFA Pacifica Radio in Berkeley, Ca(www.kpfa.org), KUSP in Santa Cruz(www.kusp.org), and WTJU in Charlottesville. They have toured the East and West Coast playing well-known venues like The Gravity Lounge, in Charlottesville, Va; Toad's Place in Richmond, Va; Jupiter in Berkeley, Ca.; and the Brookdale Lodge in Brookdale, Ca. They were featured performers in the multi-city Bluemont Concert Series in Virginia, 2008.(bluemont.org). Dawn and the band "ZapOte" have also appeared in the Winchester Star and the Eureka Times Standard, and Dawn herself has appeared in The Village Voice, Park Slope 24/7, and GO Magazine. Fresh off of a European tour in April the band is gearing up for summer festivals and concert series on the east coast, and finishing a new EP. Dawn's full-length album entitled "Cross-Crocodiles" is available for purchase at www.cdbaby.com/cd/dawndrake2.
"Dawn Drake and her band ZapOte are at the beginnings
of a fascinating journey to enthusiastically bridge
chasms of cultural and gender disconnect that plagues
so much of pop music's body politic.
To hear them is to imagine early period jam sessions
between Laura Nyro and Carole King with Sly Stone
and Sergio Mendes sitting in.
Theirs is a playfully intense dynamic that needs to be
seen more"-Darrell McNeill, Director, Black Rock