Zaia was born into a family of musicians in Holland. She migrated to Australia when she was 20 and although growing up she was surrounded by music, she did not seriously start playing music herself until she was in her late 30’s and was introduced to the diatonic marimba (white keys only if you look at a keyboard). She took to it like a duck to water and within a short few years was playing in Australia’s foremost marimba band at the time: Jambezi.
She has been involved in, and has led and written music for, several marimba bands and has been involved in Latin and Gypsy bands playing percussion and/or melodic percussion.
Zaia was part of 25 piece Gypsy street band The Unusual Suspects (now disbanded) and is still part of The Pyrophone Juggernaut, the world’s largest multi octave fire organ. Through her mentor Linsey Pollak she became extremely interested in various odd rhythms, particularly Balkan style rhythms like, 7/8, 9/8, 11/8 and 13/8.
Various musical projects she is involved in take her around Australia and overseas. She has been the percussion leader of the Woodford Folk Festival People’s orchestra since 2014 and performs as part of that on the main stage every year in the Welcome Ceremony and the Fire Event (Closing Ceremony). She also teaches classes and workshops in melodic and rhythmic percussion.
Zaia has been actively involved in community music since 2006 and in 2016 did an international music collaboration with Maati Baani, Linsey Pollak and Allaa Wardi (released January 2017). She has recorded with Big Bara Boom, Kkarimba and the Unusual Suspects as well as a solo album, and has performed with various musical projects at Woodford Folk Festival on the Sunshine Coast in Australia since 2008.
As soloist, she plays a fusion of electronic dance and world music using a loop station, an electronic marimba and various sound Apps. Her instrumental pieces have a clear percussive influence and listeners have termed her music “mysterious”, “suspenseful” and “underground dance”.
Zaia hopes to reach people all over the globe with her music and to inspire with her simple self sufficient lifestyle on her and husband Tom’s Permaculture farm (see permaculturesunshinecoast.org). She would like to inspire people to play music to overcome any mental, emotional or physical issues, as she has experienced the benefits of playing music first hand.