Each Wednesday, The World Africa presents three musical novelties from or inspired by the continent. This week, we invite you to an initiatory journey in the company of artists who, from Togo to Haiti via Réunion, offer music imbued – to varying degrees – with voodoo culture, this religion born in Dahomey (the current Benin) before crossing the Atlantic in slave ships to flourish in particular in the Caribbean, Brazil and Louisiana.
“Bella”, from Voodoo Game
From the album Apiafo, in 2014, singer and guitarist Viwanou Déboutoh alias Peter Solo, leader of the group Vaudou Game, was inspired by the mystical tradition of his country of origin, Togo, to give birth to a spellbound afro-funk. Released on June 11, his fourth opus, Noussin (“Stay strong”, in Mina language), is in the same vein, even if he has swapped the brass for keyboards with retro sounds. By the magic of the containment linked to Covid-19, what initially was to be a simple EP has turned into a record of ten ecstatic titles. Have the spirits been there?
“Of anger”, by Bonbon Vodou
Occult deities have also looked at the Creole cemetery by Bonbon Vodou. Is it Sitarane, criminal and sorcerer whose grave is the object of a satanic cult on Reunion Island? Or of Grand-Mère Kalle, whose stories haunt Piton de la Fournaise? Still, the second album of the French duo – Oriane Lacaille on percussions, JereM on guitar, both on vocals -, scheduled for August 20, is an ode to life, interbreeding and maloya inherited from the slavery. A living legend of this musical genre, Danyel Waro appears on one of the thirteen tracks.
“Erzulie”, by Erol Josué
Finally, direction Haiti with the Pelerinaj by singer, dancer and storyteller Erol Josué. An 18-track album, released on May 28, where the one who is also a voodoo priest and anthropologist summons local deities and sound recordings collected in Benin. In the clip Erzulie, shot in a sand quarry not far from Port-au-Prince, the artist calls on his compatriots to a bluesy tune to build a common project in the best interest of the country, as couturiers of different generations would unite to making the dress of the goddess of love and beauty.
Find all the musical favorites of the editorial staff in the YouTube playlist of the World Africa.