Preparing for 2022 gigs!
Zambonja rehearses in my basement studio.
Zambonja combines solo live drums, percussion, keyboards, and guitars, with backing tracks, along with a fully animated band of up to a dozen musician cartoon characters. We play a variety of rhythm-heavy, very danceable music from around the world, with an emphasis on percussion and audience participation of all ages.
Yes, it sounds a little goofy, but it works. It's also a helluva lot less hassle and headache than a fully human 12 piece band!
Zambonja is the culmination of a lifetime of music and travel by Grammy-nominated percussionist, and award-winning journalist and educational animator, myself, Mark Giles.
I had been developing this solo production in 2019 at Akadi West African Food, an excellent restaurant in Portland, Oregon. Then covid hit so I took the project back to development and made it even bigger, with the full-size band I always imagined I could produce. I can perform live shows for schools and colleges, clubs, casinos, resorts, and cruises, where I can present a captivating and informative production to suit any audience. I can also produce custom animations and characters for weddings, conventions, and special events.
Unfortunately, in this day and age, to put a real human twelve-piece band together is an economically unsustainable and logistic nightmare. With this 2D band, I can conduct a very full sound with all the colors of a full orchestra, yet cost much less to produce.
This is the first time on the planet that this has been attempted! No, really! Even Adobe, who developed the animation software, is impressed. Check out their community spotlight video below. Bands like PInk Floyd & Gorillaz have played a few songs with animation, but a whole band playing for a couple of hour sets is totally unprecedented!
Suffice it to say, it has been an incredible amount of work. I must be crazy to do this, but I have a vision to adapt all kinds of interactive solo performances with the animated band, which I now know works as well as I had imagined.
Zambonja can be a solo human production, though a two or three-piece, with added live percussionists, is the preferred lineup.
I am seeking bookings! My ideal gig would be a regular house band situation (where I can leave the drum kit at the venue) and play two or three nights a week, developing songs and animations custom-made for the venue. I would love to collaborate with a theater, musical, or drag group as the backing band for singers and performers.
I am immediately seeking street performance opportunities, especially near outdoor restaurants, food trucks, farmers markets, and eateries.
Please "follow" Zambonja on Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter and Twitch. Thank you so much!!
Jambonja is a made-up word, mixing the names of countries that I grew up in; Zambia, Nigeria, Kenya, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Jamaica.
Zambonja was featured on Adobe Character Animator's Community Spotlight - August 2021.
Adobe has commissioned me to produce a drummer puppet for their new application Puppet Maker!