I am Gede, eternal figure in black,
master of the abyss into which the sun sinks.
I make the days grow short and the nights grow long.
You perforce will cross the threshold of my palace,
the tomb and the womb of the cosmic void.
I am Gede, master of resurrection.
Confounding life and death, I make the dead dance,
I heal the hopeless.
I am the guardian of children, born and unborn.
I am the life and light persistently present,
even in the darkness.
They call me the Rising Sun.
From Makandal's Rising Sun, A Vodou Drama of Death and Rebirth
What magic does Makandal plan to make in 2023?
It’s never too late for a new discovery. In re-mixing and digitizing Makandal’s album Èzili we found a track that had not been included in the original 1986 release. Frisner Augustin composed “Vodou Jazz” in the zepòl style and performed it with dancers or as an instrumental piece. Harry Leroy recorded it for Èzili, but producers Frisner Augustin and Joel Pierre decided to put it on hold for a future time.
The time has come. With some polishing by audio engineer Tom Mitchell (who played sax with the band during its golden jazz era), Makandal has just made “Vodou Jazz” available as a single on the Ountògi Music Publishing label through cdbaby. You can download it to the device of your choice or stream it starting from this platform:
- Read about the Èzili album’s remarkable escape from a house fire here.
- Read about our recent vintage releases here. More to come!
- Get the full Èzili album notes here.
- Put yourself on Makandal’s mailing list here.
Donk, lè m antre Nouyòk, mwen deside pou m fè plak. Sa k fè m te deside pou m fè plak se te yon afè… Kòmsi m ta di w, yon bagay m te gen nan mwen menm pou m wè tout moun k ap fè plak, se Ayiti pou y ale, jous Ayiti. Y al fè plak ann Ayiti avèk ti malerè yo, lè fini pou y al antre isi avè plak yo, m te wè yo jwenn enjenyè. Ou di m paka gen mizisyen isit? Gen moun ki ka bat tanbou, gen moun ki ka chante. Poukisa se jis Ayiti pou y ale?
So when I came to New York, I decided to make an LP [vinyl recording]. What made me decide to make an LP was… I’ll tell you, what I was seeing was that everyone who made an LP went to Haiti. They recorded in Haiti with poor people, and when they were done, they would come back here and find a sound engineer. You’re telling me there can’t be musicians here? There are people who can beat the drum, people who can sing. Why go only to Haiti?
Frisner Augustin, interview with Lois Wilcken, Brooklyn, New York, 25 August 1994
Makandal has just re-released three of its classic albums, two Vodou and one Vodou jazz. Read on for details…
From Boukman’s command to listen to the voice of liberty that speaks in the hearts of us all to the strains of “Grenadye, alaso!” in Haiti’s final battle for independence to the spicy pulse of rara bands spanning the Brooklyn Bridge in 1990, the spunky spirit of resistance endures in the hearts of Haiti’s children. Through a series of legislative victories, the Haitian community of New York and its representatives in government have created Little Haiti, and the message is, “We’re not going anywhere!” Join Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, State Senator Kevin S. Parker, MTA New York City Transit, Little Haiti Brooklyn NY, CUNY Haitian Studies Institute, Haiti Cultural Exchange, and La Troupe Makandal in a celebration of the latest victory: the unveiling of Newkirk Avenue–Little Haiti subway stop. Festivities begin at 11 am on Thursday, November 18, 2021.
Tuesday, June 8, 2021, 6–9 PM EDT at Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn
Join Makandal as it takes part in We Remember, an interactive memorial honoring the lives of some 52,000 New Yorkers who left us in the time of COVID-19. Greenwood Cemetery has donated use of its 5th Avenue fence for a memorial launch on June 8. The memorial will remain up for viewing until June 28. The launch begins with a procession followed by a dedication and culminates in music, dance, and opportunities to add nameplates.
La Troupe Makandal will honor those on the other side with a music-and-dance performance! Be ready to participate… Continue reading
Presented by Makandal, in partnership with the Center for Traditional Music and Dance (CTMD) and the Eugene Lang College at The New School
The Makandal Drummers
Fanmi Asotò, with Master Drummer Fanfan Tanbou René
Co-sponsored by the Center for Traditional Music and Dance
Admission and address details to come
This program is made possible, in part, with funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
The waistcoat was one of Frisner’s favorites, and he wore it often on stage. A basic black, it featured two welt pockets, a pointed front, and a closure that he never buttoned down—banking, of course, on the sex appeal of an open vest. Over time he had pinned the front panels with some dozen buttons in assorted sizes, shapes, and colors, bearing equally diverse messages: “Socialist Scholar 1995,” “I and I Survive,” “Condoms across the Board,” and more. On the evening of February 16, 2012, in a concert at the Institut Français Haïti in Port-au-Prince, he wore it over a white corporate logo t-shirt, but the shirt, too, was sleeveless, exposing a pair of sinewy biceps that glistened in the spotlight as he pounded the drum for Ogou, Vodou’s consummate warrior and his own spiritual master. The sheer power of this performance masked the poignant paradox that it would be his last… Continue reading
Posted in Tales from the Archive
Tagged Archive, Drumming, Drums, Frisner Augustin, Haiti, Haitian, Haitian Music, Institut Français Haïti, Music, Port-au-Prince, Vodou
Makandal invites you to dance with the dead and rise again!
Saturday, November 19, 8 pm – 1:30 am
Tafari Tribe Globe Trade, 593 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn (map)
For the third year in a row, we present our Banbòch Gede, this time in collaboration with Bohio Music (vocalist Riva Nyri Précil and guitarist Monvelyno Alexis) and Makini Sacred Arts (Makini Armand).
And how will the night look?
- Live music with Bohio Music
- More live music with The Makandal Drummers
- Hot Gede dancing with Agathina Ginoue
- Food, drink, and offerings by Makini Sacred Arts
- Jewelry and accessories by Gamonde
- Tribal organic face painting by Fruiggie
- Gede costume contest
Transportation to the venue:
B, Q to Prospect Park
2, 5 to Sterling Place
Purchase on Paypal
(tap the skull to the left, and see how she swallows your money)
Buy at the door
Featured image by Kesler Pierre