We are ZEME LIBRE

 

Zeme Libre is a New England based band that is quickly gaining a reputation for its unique, high energy blend of Afrobeat, reggae, ska, and funk. Consisting of veteran performers from around the country, members of Zeme Libre have played and shared the stage with such great acts as: Michael Franti and Spearhead, Culture, Toots and the Maytals, Black Uhuru, Wyclef Jean, The English Beat, Burning Spear, De La Soul, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Wailers, The Skatalities, Bim Skala Bim, Ozomatli, Lee "Scratch" Perry and Yellowman.

Whether on a stage at a local club or a high profile festival, Zeme Libre packs a wall of sound that is sure to get the crowd moving and dancing. Afro-fusion, hard tinged reggae, and ska.... Zeme Libre!

 

Andrew Yankowsky - Lead Vocals
Phil Mantis - Bass
Tim Washburn -Guitar, Vocals
David Butts - Keys, Horns, Vocals
Andy Porta/Chris Sweet - Drums, Vocals

 

 
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ZEME LIBRE Shows

 

News & Press

Maine-based Zeme Libre is back with a brand new album called “War on the One,” and you can shake your groove thing down at the Portland House of Music to their Afrobeat, reggae, ska and funk tunes. “War” is a follow-up to last year’s seven-song “NEA99942,” and they’ve followed in their own fantastic footsteps with this collection of 11 tunes.

They formed in the spring of 2015, and their first show was opening for The English Beat in May of that year. Not a bad way to make your debut. In fact, I was at that show and can verify that they crushed it.

“War on the One” opens with the title track, and you’re greeted with funky keys, drums, electric guitar, bass and horns in rapid succession before the vocals arrive. “Hold on, hold on, take your last breath” is repeated many times over the course of the five-minute romp that you’ll be singing along to by the mid-point. It’s fierce yet fun with a whole mess of sounds going off in various directions.

“Hambre,” which is the Spanish word for hungry, features guests Scott Elliot on mandolin, vocalist Vanessa Lauren and drummer Chris Sweet. In an email, the band told me the song has a world-beat groove, and after giving it a spin, they’ll get no argument from me. Said another way, the song is four-and-a-half minutes of swirling keys, crashing drums and funky electric grooves set atop lyrics that are politically charged yet positive and hopeful. “One foot in the crowd, one on the ground/No need to see, what they’re running from.”

My current favorite is “The Thing” which, at just under six minutes long, features the organ, flute and a few other sounds I’m not quite sure of but are all essential ingredients to the song. It’s not possible to sit still to this one. I tried it in my car and at my desk and only lasted a minute before various forms of moving, snapping and head-bopping happened on their own accord. “Break it down, feel it, feel it, feel it now,” instructs Yankowsky, and these are orders you’ll be happy to follow, especially when they play this one live on Saturday night. Don’t be the one in the corner with your head in your phone; hit the dance floor and show the world your moves.

Aimsel Ponti Maine Today - Portland Press Herald Mar 17,2017

Twitter

“Zeme Libre. You’ll want to get there on time to see this act, because it’ll do more than get you warmed up - it’ll knock your socks clear off your feet.

Zeme Libre plays a kinetic fusion of Afrobeat, reggae, ska and funk. The band is based here in Maine, but the members come from all over the country and have played and shared stages with Michael Franti and Spearhead, Bim Skala Bim, De La Soul, Toots and the Maytals, Black Uhuru and several others.

Zeme Libre’s latest release is the seven-song “NEA 99942.” Ever curious, I reached out to band member David Butts to find out what the heck the album title means. Ready for this? NEA 99942 is otherwise known as Apophis, and it’s an Near Earth Asteroid (NEA) being studied by NASA. Butts explained that there was major concern for it potentially hitting us (meaning earth) a few years back, and it is still being studied. What’s more, Apophis is the name of an enemy of the Ancient Egyptian sun god Ra.

There’s more to it, but that’s the gist, and now I’m wishing I hadn’t seen “Armageddon” and not just because of the cheesy Aerosmith song. I digress.

The seven songs on “NEA 99942” are scintillating, dance-inducing tunes with Andrew Yankowsky on lead vocals, Phil Mantis on bass, Tim Washburn on guitar and vocals, David Butts on keys, horns and vocals and Andy Porta on drums and vocals. The title track has an outer-space vibe to it, which makes sense given what we know about its meaning.

It’s 38 seconds of perfection that leads into “Jungle,” a song that I’m sure hoping they play at the Port City show (hint hint), because it starts out fast and frenzied then slows down into a bouncy pace only to pick back up again and twirl you around the room before chilling out again. Its the song that keeps on giving and just when you think its reached its zenith in come the horns”.

Aimsel Ponti - Maine Today, Portland Press Herald 2016

 

“New England based band Zeme Libre, a band that has helped the most stubborn wall-flowers shake some muscle, with a high-energy blend of ska, reggae and funk fusion.”

Francis Flisiuk - Portland Phoenix Aug 29,2016

 
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ZEME LIBRE Music

by ZEME LIBRE