Introducing Zikora

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The band Zikora and their music have been on my radar for well over a year now after we met via the social media site Twitter. Let me introduce you to the ladies of Zikora who are Talia Browne (percussion & vocals), Emily Rosner (harp & vocals) and Ellisa Scott (keys, flute & vocals). Together they create a sound that they call Drum ‘n’ Harp. I would call it an alternative pop experience that is beautifully delivered with their harmonious vocal talents. Towards the end of 2015 they told me that they were working on their debut EP which I was excited to listen to.

Their EP ‘Golden Thread’ is now here! Before I share my review of it I want to let Talia talk a little more about Zikora. She was kind enough to talk about the bands sound, influences and a little more. This is what she had to say.

How did Zikora come together and is there a story behind the name?

Emily (the harpist) and I (the percussionist) were in a band years ago called Burgundy Brown with a Cellist. The Cellist left and Em and I wanted the music to go in a different direction, so we got a new player Keys/Voice/Flute Ellisa Scott. Ellisa and I went to primary school together.

We wanted a new name and I was just playing around with a few things. I was looking online at African names because I play African percussion and I came across Zikora. I like the way it sounded and when we looked up what it meant we resonated strongly with this line in particular “people with the name Zikora tend to be successful in business and commercial affairs, and are able to achieve great material dreams” haha! We always wanted this to be an ongoing project, even though I’ll be traveling this year we will be getting back together and playing when I return.

How would you describe the bands sound and which musicians have helped influence this?

This has always been really difficult one for us. We don’t really know how to describe our sound, we’ve even had competitions at gigs to see if the audience can come up with better ways to describe our sound than we can. At the moment we’ve settled on Alt-pop but I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate. What do you think?

We all have quite varying influences which is great because it means we approach our writing from really different angles which always takes the song writing in different directions than you think it’s going to go or that you had in mind. I was heavily influenced by a lot of different types of music from folk, to rock to electronic music like Joanna Newsom, Cyndi Lauper, Silverchair, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan growing up and more recently Opiou, Active Child, Paper Kites, Fat Freddy’s drop, I’m also influenced a lot by African rhythms traditional and folkloric music. Our musician friends around us who are amazing songwriters are also massive influences, if not the biggest. Some of Em and Ellisas influences include Moloko, Tune Yards, Róisín Murphy and a lot of electronic music. Em’s other influences are in order of era, French impressionism, jazz/funk/gospel especially with and Afro Beat influence, dub reggae and electronic influences since the 60s.

Which is the bands favourite song from the new EP and why?
We all have different picks. Ellisa loves Flagstaff, that’s her fav, we all are particularly proud of the bridge section in that song. It’s got something crazy like 50+ different tracks layers of there or percussion and all the bits and pieces. I’m even playing glass water bottles and a metal bowl! Every time we needed to add a track in the studio the computer would crash! It was crazy! But it was also a favorite part for our producer too.

I personally love the story of Golden Thread but all the songs are great! For us I think it’s mostly the last song we wrote but it changes all the time I think.

If you were headlining a world tour, which bands would you choose as YOUR support?

Haha! What an amazing dream this would be! I think we might be very intimidated by a lot of these artists. I’m going to slightly change the question from supporting OUR tour, to playing at the same festival! 🙂 haha!

If we could choose anyone to play at this magical festival:

Sola Rosa, Fat Freddy’s drop, Hiatus Kaiyote, Dave Matthews Band, Ben Harper & the Innocent criminals, Bela Fleck, Joanna Newsom, Mumford & Sons, Active Child, Opiou, Tune yards, Moloko and The Blind Boys Of Alabama. Among others! So many we could list here!

Now this EP is released, what’s the future plans and goals for your music?

Keep going! We’re going to take a little break after a few more shows and push reset in 2016, we’ve learned so much making this EP it’s been an incredible journey having our amazing producer Jimi Maroudas by our side as well has been an amazing experience! But also tiring!  So late 2016 early 2017 we’ll be back playing some shows and writing more music. Possibly going in a new direction musically but it hasn’t been confirmed yet.

Let’s talk about their EP called ‘Golden Thread’. From the get go, you are introduced to their wonderful sound on the title track ‘Golden Thread’ and how this Drum ‘n’ Harp combination flows through the song. It also showcases the amazing vocals talent these ladies possess, especially when they blend together with their stunning harmonies. This all builds the musical foundations which is what makes the music of Zikora stand out for me and is featured throughout their EP. They also offer so much more as the atmosphere to each song differs from the next to give this release an impressive depth. When you listen to my favourite song ‘Flagstaff’ you are treated to a jazz influenced sound which is thanks to some very cool skills on the trumpet which again are accompanied by their wonderful vocal talents. Actually, musically this has so many layers to its overall sound due to the use of the harp, violin and percussion. Love this song!

I don’t think I really noticed their lyrical talents until I had listened to the EP a few times as I their overall sound seemed to take most of my attention. However, once I listened to their lyrics I was impressed with the stories they shared within each song and it actually made me appreciate their music even more. A great example of this is the song ‘Treadmill’ which is another highlight of mine.

If you love stunning harmonies with a laid back uplifting sound then ‘Golden Thread’ is the EP for you! So do yourself a favour and head over to the Bandcamp page of Zikora to listen to their EP in full (click HERE). When you are done, you can purchase a copy of it while you are there. This EP will not disappoint!

I really like the sound that Zikora have produced and I’m looking forward to hear how their music will grow. I know they have said they are taking a mini break but I hope it won’t be too long before they release some new music. To keep up to date with what is going on in their world of music then head over to their website at Zirkora.com.au. Alternatively head over to their social media sites at Facebook and Twitter. If you are lucky enough to catch one of their shows then let me know about it on my Twitter account (click HERE).

As always, independent music is essential to the word of music today. For this to grow we need to show our support by spreading the word and buying the music that matters to us. If the music of Zikora is a favourite of yours then tell the world all about them today!