Qkumba Zoo was originally formed by Owl & Levannah in the early 1990s as an incarnation called “Ocean Road”. Eventually, the newly-named Qkumba Zoo released their debut album “Wake Up & Dream” in 1996 on the Arista label. Having been born and bred in South Africa, their music and style fused dance/pop and tribal beats together into one glorious sound. Their lyrics strike both the height of imagination, and the depths of current affairs, such as apartheid and pollution. Their most popular song became “The Child (Inside)”, which hit #1 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in 1996. (In later years, it’s best remembered for appearing in Seaworld TV commercials.)
In 2000, Qkumba Zoo released a second album under the name QZoo, called “Butterfly Peepl”, a breathtaking musical journey “into the butterflies that we are becoming in spite of all our caterpillar dreaming.” The year prior to the album’s release, bandmember Tziki committed suicide. This may have been one of the factors behind the maturity and depth of the music on Butterfly Peepl. Shortly after the album release, QZoo’s official website disappeared offline, not only making the album a rarity even for fans, but leaving the fans wondering where the band had gone.
A new QZoo website appeared online in 2001 stating that more music would likely be made as a third incarnation called “Innaskinz”. There was also possibility of working with a new bandmember named Cajun. Lyrics for the song “Strike Out Against the Tide” were posted on the main page. Unfortunately, this website also quickly vanished. Outside of South Africa, nothing much was heard of QZoo after that. Fortunately, nothing can stop Owl from making music, or from popping up online. Pretty soon, fans were discovering his pages at MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Reverb Nation, and other sites – and happily hearing new music; some solo, some with Levannah.
In 2009, Qkumba Zoo quietly released a third album called “N3X+”, which is only available for download online. It consists of five songs: two from Butterfly Peepl, two new songs, and one previously unreleased from the era of Ocean Road.
While it seems like no major album may be released anytime soon, QZoo fans still hold their breaths in hope, while secretly plotting how they can save up enough for airfare to South Africa. Qkumba Zoo is truly unique, fueled by real musical passion and an appreciation for the tangible and intangible around us – these are the factors that likely shaped their style into something not easily digestible by the restraints of modern-day pop, but it was well worth it.
Update from Owl (2016):
Can’t keep an old dog down :).
Qkumba Zoo (after much reviewing and sorting out of contractual stuff) released two albums online in December 2016: Wake Up & Dream (from 1996), and Letthelightin (from 2011). So our music is finally available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Music etc. These two albums represent the totality of what we have recorded thus far. We have other releases (South Africa only releases, EP’s etc) but they were combined into these two albums.
We would like to thank the patience of our fans who have been requesting access to our music for so long!
In addition, we will continue to produce music at our usual leisurely rate whenever I (Owl) can get the music together and coax Levannah into the studio. Hopefully that translates into 1 or 2 releases a year. We will let everyone know when these releases occur on our website and Facebook page. Thanks!