Zaza Korinteli / ზაზა კორინთელი

Zaza Korinteli (Georgian: ზაზა კორინთელი) better known by his stage name Zumba (born December 29, 1973) is a Georgian rock musician, folklorist and civic activist. His music fuses a wide variety of genres, principally Georgian folk tradition, rock, and reggae. Being a multi-instrumentalist on guitar, bass, wind instruments, percussions, and vocals, he leads the band ZumbaLand and also collaborates within several other musical projects. His stage name is an acronym of a Georgian phrase zogjer ubralod moindome, bolos agisruldeba (ზოგჯერ უბრალოდ მოინდომე ბოლოს აგისრულდება), translated as “Just wish sometimes – it will eventually come true.”

Born in Tbilisi, Korinteli graduated from the Department of Psychology, Tbilisi State University. He founded his first band in 1993 and named it ZumbaLand. The group initially performed in the streets, parks and metro stations of Tbilisi and recorded its debut album “I am waiting for the sunrise” in 1995. It went on to win two nationwide rock music festivals in 1996. In 1997, Korinteli disbanded the group and moved to Kraków, Poland, where the band was reincarnated featuring Georgian, Polish, Ukrainian, and American musicians. This line-up toured Poland at the end of the 1990s and recorded the album “Project Union” in 2000. The same year, Korinteli returned to Georgia and assembled a new band which has since maintained its lineup. It has since recorded three studio albums “Euroremonti” (2002), Jolo (2004) and Adila (2006), staged nationwide tours and performed at various festivals and concerts in Georgia, Ukraine, and Russia, including jamming with the American jazz musicians Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis and Richard Bona.

Zumba was one of the organizers of rock concerts supporting opposition demonstrations during the 2003 Rose Revolution in Georgia and 2004 Orange Revolution in Ukraine. He is one of the Georgian stars that the President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili and his United National Movement has enlisted in their pre-election campaign for Georgia’s 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections. The musician is a supporter of Georgia’s integration with Europe and has called for a thorough “Euro remont” of the society, referring to a Russian/post-Soviet take on Western style of interior design. During the November 2007 political crisis in the country, he led several other musicians and artists to issue a manifesto, urging to eliminate the last vestiges of Soviet-era mentality and reform Georgia into a Western-type democracy, at the same treasuring the country’s traditions and cultural heritage. It also called for the opposing political factions to reconcile and work together towards the cultural evolution, state reinforcement and territorial integrity.

Korinteli is also known for his work as a cultural ambassador for Georgia and his promotion of Georgian folk music and folklore in general. He founded, in 2004, and has since managed an annual summertime folk culture festival Art-Gene hosted by Open Air Museum of Ethnography at Tbilisi. The festival also tours across Georgia, popularizing Georgian folk culture and collecting its obscure examples in the countryside.

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