Wednesday 24 Sep 2014
From Monday 5 April on CBEEBIES
ZingZillas is CBeebies' landmark new music show, set on a tropical island where everyone joins in to create ZingZilla music magic! With influences spanning the globe from rock to soul, jazz to samba and big band to orchestra, ZingZillas gets its young viewers jumping, swaying and trilling to music from the world over.
Zak, Tang, Panzee and Drum make up music sensations ZingZillas. On their island paradise, this band of primate friends live to play fantastic music. With the help of their mentor, music guru DJ Loose, they create their unique ZingZilla sound just in time for their daily performance, The Big Zing.
Gorilla and lead singer Zak provides vocals while musical genius and lead guitarist Tang the orangutan creates the most wonderful compositions. The band is styled by chimpanzee bass guitarist and keyboard player Panzee, and monkey percussionist Drum always lays down a great beat.
As well as these regular island-dwellers, the island is visited in every episode by a different musical guest. Ranging from a full concert orchestra to a lone saxophonist or a bottle-neck guitarist, this series embraces and celebrates musical genres from around the world. The ZingZillas always discover their musical guests in a lush jungle glade which pulsates with music. They take inspiration from the guests and incorporate them and their sounds into The Big Zing.
In developing ZingZillas, the production team set out to create a standout music show like no other seen before. Executive producer Alison Stewart explains: "We wanted a show that would handle music in a really different way. Our starting point was an understanding that children love all kinds of music so we didn't restrict ourselves to any single musical genre. Instead, ZingZillas is a global music show and music is at the heart of every episode. Each programme seamlessly weaves a strong narrative with catchy toe-tapping melodies, bringing our primate band together with some internationally acclaimed musicians."
Each episode features a different musical guest with whom the ZingZillas collaborate for their show-stopping Big Zing. Composers Banks & Wag were given the task of writing all the original music in the show. From Bhangra to blues, scat to salsa, this was a huge musical job tackled with relish. "It's been a dream gig," confesses Chris Banks, "an opportunity to write big melodies, multiple harmonies and rich arrangements in so many different styles. We wanted to really push the boat out, to go for something bigger and more complex than you usually hear on children's TV. Plus we got to work with so many amazing musicians. One week it's Julian Lloyd-Webber or Dame Cleo Laine, the next it's Elio Pace or Stuart Zender, or the BBC Concert Orchestra. You can't really go wrong with talent like that!"
The show's Early Years Music Education Consultant, Linda Bance, explains: "Young children are naturally musical and adventurous – they love new ideas, taking risks and trying things out. We should not underestimate the power of music in our pre-schoolers' lives and ZingZillas will give them the quality musical experiences they deserve."
Head of CBeebies Production, Kay Benbow, concludes: "ZingZillas is a musical feast introducing new sounds, new instruments and musical ideas into the lives of CBeebies' young audience, inspiring them to jump up, join in and create some music for themselves. The ZingZillas band of energetic primates aims to get under-sixes across the nation making music ... ZingZilla-style!"
Who's Who – meet the band
Zak: Lead singer
Zak is the lead singer of ZingZillas and the emotional heart of the band. Energetic, lovable and a natural showman, he enjoys the limelight and gets a thrill out of performing every Big Zing. In life and music, he loves to take an idea and run with it, although he doesn't necessarily always think things through first.
Panzee: Bass and keyboards
Panzee is the creative heart of the band. She's the team's driving force and comes up with most of the ideas for things they can do or play. Bubbly and enthusiastic, she enjoys fixing problems, bringing people together and sorting things out, often coming up with fantastical schemes and ideas.
Tang: Lead guitar
Tang is the musical heart of the band. First and foremost he is a wonderful musician – the kind who can pick up any instrument and get some sort of sound out of it. He is also very laid back and likes to mull over ideas, often while he's lying in his hammock, strumming his guitar in the sun.
Drum: Drummer and percussionist
Drum is the rhythmic heart of the band. For her, rhythm is all. Drum doesn't speak much – she prefers to communicate through rhythm. Hyperactive and full of energy, she's like an impish, cheeky little sister.
Others on ZingZilla Island
Todd is the island's eccentric odd-job man and inventor. He's responsible for the upkeep of the island and he can usually fix most things – even in his slightly bumbling, incompetent way. Inside his cave is a wonderful place packed with inventions, contraptions and several incomplete half-baked schemes!
DJ Loose runs the Coconut Hut on the beach where the band and their friends congregate and listen to his wise advice. He is flamboyant, knowledgeable and passionate, having worked in the music industry since the invention of the blues and before.
The Moaning Stones – Gravel and Granite
There are four Moaning Stones sitting permanently wedged in the sand on the beach. One is buried so deep that it is barely recognisable. One is permanently asleep. The other two are Gravel and Granite, a kind of doo-woping, prehistoric "Odd Couple".
The Beach Byrds: Maxine, Patti & Laverne
The Beach Byrds work as waitresses at the Coconut Hut, popping up from behind the counter singing in glorious, twittery harmony. But for each Big Zing, they don their best spangly dresses and provide the backing vocals.
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