The spotlight caught him in one of his star moments: seated at a conga in a red Kesler Pierre t-shirt for the Vodou spirit of love (her dazzling heart crowned with the word “Makandal”); a cluster of New Orleans-style carnival beads around his neck; a white kufi on his head; and fingers poised to embroider venerable sonic memories into a new groove. The audience ceased its shuffling, and his solo started, rhapsodic at first and then settling into a gentle yanvalou. He reached into his bag of musical tricks and wrapped his hands around ibo and then zaryen (with a little Carnival detour along the way). Now he was ready for the kill—an ever so cool transition to mayi that drew sighs of pleasure and applause from the audience, and a pitch-bending motif executed with elbow and chin. Frisner Augustin returned to mayi for a razor-sharp cadence, and a stage-left gesture of invitation to the celebrated jazz drummer Andrew Cyrille. Vodou and jazz were ready to dig deep into their tangled roots. Continue reading
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Our Mission, Our Dream
Makandal presents, teaches, and documents the sacred music and dance of Haitian Vodou, widely perceived in the mainstream as “voodoo.” We challenge clichées while keeping the magic of Vodou alive. More on our About page.
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