Tag Archives: Drums

Tales from the Archive: A Trip to Vodou

The young artists fell into a philosophical tug-of-war with the recording engineer. Harry Leroy already boasted a history of recording some of the best Haitian musicians around. He knew his business. The artists of La Troupe Makandal, on the other … Continue reading

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Tales from the Archive: The Spirit Rises in the Bronx

The subway ride to the Bronx felt endless. I usually rode to the house in Morris Heights with Frisner, but his van had gone ahead of me four days earlier. Since then it was marking time and waiting for its owner … Continue reading

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Tales from the Archive: How to Mix Business with Pleasure

It seemed that Frisner and Makandal never got the distinction between work and play. Didn’t they know that in our modern era of discrete dichotomies (opposites that don’t mix), the distinction rules? We have a time to work and a … Continue reading

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Tales from the Archive: Whining, Grinding, and a Lot of Gouyad

West Indian Carnival was probably the farthest thing from the minds of Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux when they designed the world’s first parkway: Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. At work on Prospect Park at the same time (circa 1866), … Continue reading

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Tales from the Archive: Fire Dancing in the Ballroom

Sometimes the line between the lurid and the divine is not so apparent. So I didn’t know how to react when Frisner told me we were doing a “voodoo” midnight show at a West Indian ballroom in Flatbush, that the … Continue reading

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Tales from the Archive: Frisner’s Souvenir

We weren’t the kind of people who stressed over holiday gifts. Frisner had come up out of a struggling community—he literally slept on a dirt floor as a child. I had developed an aversion to the annual shopping mania, and, as … Continue reading

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Tales from the Archive: Vodou in Church

We finally got a gig with World Music Institute! Founded in 1985, WMI, in 1986, was already on its way to becoming one of the world’s leading presenters of contemporary music and dance from around the world. I had spoken … Continue reading

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Tales from the Archive: Telling the Roots

How did it all start? With a wish, a worry, a dream, maybe a phrase of music? Yes, yes, yes, yes… An interview I set up more than thirty years ago gets it in a nutshell. I say “set up” … Continue reading

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Tales from the Archive: The Spirits Rock The Town Hall

I had never been inside The Town Hall before, not until today, September 22, 1989. I was impressed by its monumental aura. Maybe not as grand and elegant as Carnegie Hall, but arguably more noble in purpose than all the world’s highbrow houses … Continue reading

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