in association with


Monday June 13th, 2011
Tickets $12. Doors 9:00; Show at 9:30

On June 13th, the award-winning Harlem-based imprint Motéma Music, noted for its adventurous international approach to jazz, presents an expansive evening of compelling music exploring new frontiers of world and jazz at Joe’s Pub. The break-out Morroccan/jazz music star Malika Zarra, recently a jazz world pick on NPR’s All Things Considered, will perform music from her extraordinary new Motéma release, Berber Taxi. Joining the triple bill is Oran Etkin’s Kelenia, the noted Israeli/Malian jazz fusion group whose debut was named “Best World Beat CD of 2009” by the Independent Music Awards. And The Koko Jones Band will present a musically elevating blend of African, Latin and Soul grooves with vocals and percussion in their first official performance in Manhattan. The high-octane showcase is one of the many performances that will be taking place around New York City throughout the month of June as part of the Blue Note Jazz Festival’s 30th Anniversary.

Born in Morocco, raised in France, and now thriving in the polyglot metropolis of New York City, MALIKA ZARRA is a gifted composer, producer and singer creating a new Moroccan urban-world-jazz by tastefully using traditional North African chaâbi, Berber and Gnawa polyrhythms to underpin her distinctly contemporary urban compositions, all the while maintaining a sophisticated improvisational modern jazz approach. The April release of Zarra's Motéma debut, Berber Taxi, positioned her as an important world-jazz artist on the New York, North African and European multicultural music scenes. Berber Taxi takes up its journey following Zarra’s self-released 2006 debut, On the Ebony Road. John Zorn hails her “rare and special voice” and The Guardian writes “Zarra is captivating, with a soft voice and a hushed style of scat-singing that makes it sound like she is casting spells.” Berber Taxi has been featured on WNYC-FM’s Soundcheck, Afropop Worldwide and PRI’s The World, and is establishing Zarra as one of the brightest new stars in world music.

ORAN ETKIN’S KELENIA is helmed by young instrumentalist Oran Etkin, hailed as a "great clarinetist" and "excellent improviser" by The New York Times jazz critic Ben Ratliff and as a "woodwind maestro" by Afropop Worldwide. His unique improvisations on the sax, clarinet and bass-clarinet have been featured on projects by artists as varied as Mike Stern, Wyclef Jean, Toumani Diabate and Lionel Loueke. Fusing years of experience in both the jazz and world music scenes, Etkin created his Kelenia (Keh-len-YAH)ensemble in 2009 to bridge the sounds of his native Israel with the music of Mali and the modern jazz of New York. The band's eponymous Motéma 2009 debut, Kelenia, won "Best World Music Album" that year from the Independent Music Awards, and was later featured on a GRAMMY®-nominated compilation alongside tracks by Russell Simmons and Moby. For the Joe’s Pub set, Etkin is joined by Malian griot musicians Makane Kouyate (calabash/vocals) and Balla Kouyate (balafon) Through nearly a decade of work together Etkin and the Kouyate brothers have developed a seemingly telepathic musical connection on stage that bridges cultural boundaries and is a joy to experience.

THE KOKO JONES BAND will be making its New York City debut at Joe's Pub. Koko brings several lifetimes’ worth of experience to the stage. Music is literally in her blood – her grandmother played piano with Bessie Smith – and she has led an uncommon life in music, including early initiations into traditional Congolese, West African and Latin hand drumming, which led to key positions with the LaRoque Bey Drummers and Tito Sompa's Tanawa Congolese Dance Company. Koko Jones, formerly known as Kevin ‘Bujo’ Jones, has extensive professional world/soul and jazz credentials as a percussionist including multiple recordings and tours with The Isley Brothers in the 1980's as well as tours and recordings with such varied artists as Archie Shepp, Whitney Houston, Randy Weston, TK Blue and Winard Harper. A dedicated ambassador of uplift and compassion, Koko’s performance will preview her new project "Who's That Lady,” setting the Golden Age of Soul and Jazz against a pulsing backdrop of African and Caribbean Rhythms.

ABOUT MOTÉMA: Motéma Music, named for the word for ‘heart’ in the Congolese language of Lingala, has been promoting recording artists of power and distinction since 2003.  Founded by arts patrons and music professionals in the San Francisco Bay area and now based in Harlem, NYC, the label is home to a growing roster of recordings by award-winning artists including NEA Jazz Master Randy Weston, Jamaican jazz legend Monty Alexander, rising star vocalist Gregory Porter, and other jazz greats including Rufus Reid, Geri Allen, Lynne Arriale, and Marc Cary.  Led by producer, performer and entrepreneur Jana Herzen and a dedicated team of veteran and new music industry professionals, Motéma provides career development, creative promotion, and marketing support to composer-performers who are masters at their craft and who have a unique and positive musical voice to share with the world.

Other Motema artists performing in the Blue Note Jazz Festival are Brazilian bass icon Nilson Matta and jazz guitar guru Roni Ben-Hur, who celebrate the May release of their Afro-Bossa-Bop collaboration, Mojave, at the Kitano on June 17 & 18, and GRAMMY®-nominated vocalist Gregory Porter, who performs at the Highline Ballroom on June 5.