Chante! Sing!

But wait a minute! Who said I can’t sing? I think I did. How did the child of two musicians, one a pianist, the other a singer—yes, a singer—become so timid with her voice? Is it reversible? Well, I will never be a Nina Simone or a Toto Bissainthe, and that’s okay. But I can probably take some lessons from those incredible people who make up the Vodou chorus, the sèvitè (servants of the spirits) who belt it out in a perfect cacophony of sweetness and soul, and hitting the wrong notes is not a problem. Continue reading

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Vodou Love in Outer Space

Pluto has a heart! Scientists looking at the first images from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, which just arrived in the Pluto zone after three billion miles and nearly ten years, have spotted a heart-shaped region on the frosty planet. They’ve nicknamed it “the heart.” Who would have thought that the mythical god of the wintry underworld, custodian of the afterlife, would have a soft spot? Echoes of Vodou cross my mind’s ear. Continue reading

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A Message to You

I’m writing to you, that free spirit who can’t stop dancing to the beat of a drum. You must have come out of the womb this way. Am I right? As far back as you can remember, your proclivities failed to match those of your peers. Your parents shook their heads, maybe even feared for your future. You felt yourself as spiritual, but you found it really, really hard to believe in hellfire and damnation. In your heart of hearts, the spirit was meant to be free. Continue reading

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Why I’ve Renamed This Site

Short and sweet today. I’ve opted to rework the title and the tagline of this site. Take a look above and see “Welcome to Makandal” (title) and “Bridging the Past and Future of Traditional Haitian Arts” (tagline).   What happened to “La Troupe Makandal” (our legal name) and “Classic Haitian Performing Arts,” the words that have marked this site since its rebirth on WordPress? Continue reading

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Introducing the Woman behind the Rudder

I am Lois, and I blog on behalf of La Troupe Makandal. As you walk through our virtual space, you’ll note that a collective of performing artists who specialize in the classic drumming and dance traditions of Haiti constitute Makandal. We use these traditions to educate and enlighten the public about what most see as “the poorest country in the Western hemisphere.” By virtue of her culture and spirit, Haiti is the wealthiest. Continue reading

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Born to Dance, Born to Play

The drum was born to dance. The child of a tree, the drum knows the pulse of its parent’s vascular system, the kinetic locus between the moisture and nutrients that roots seduce from the soil, and the chemical energy that leaves compose with the sun. The drum, ritually severed from its parent’s torso, never forgets this choreography of water and light, drama and love.
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Dead Gorgeous Gear!

How many of us who know the Gede think about their fashion style? These infamous spirits of death and decay are so in-your-face with their sass, their salacious talk, their spot-on mimicry of our carnal secrets that the chic elements of their persona often slip by, like weird scraps of cemetery flotsam. Continue reading

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